Pittsburgh International Airport announced in late January a partnership with Honeywell (NYSE: HON) to test air quality improvement technology at the airport’s newly opened innovation center, xBridge. Pittsburgh International Airport is the first U.S. airport to deploy Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings dashboard and air quality sensing technology, and will use Honeywell Forge enterprise performance management software, to increase public health efforts and improve staff and passenger confidence in travel.
The Honeywell Healthy Buildings dashboard at xBridge measures key indoor air quality (IAQ) parameters such as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOC). A network of IAQ sensors connected to the Healthy Buildings dashboard provides real-time updates on the airport’s air quality performance to help the facilities staff quickly identify and correct critical building controls issues. The dashboard seamlessly integrates into existing systems within the airport. Honeywell Forge software will be used to monitor and address maintenance issues with the airport’s air filters.
Launched in 2020, xBridge is a 10,000-square-foot innovation center at Pittsburgh International Airport custom-built to nurture the evolution of the aviation industry and inspire creative solutions to challenges. Based on the success of xBridge pilot systems, PIT may expand the technology throughout the airport. Working in tandem with companies on initiatives will be a key part of xBridge’s success. As the airport itself has become a testing ground for new technology, including robotics and AI, this innovation center will focus those efforts into a space custom-built for ideation, experimentation and collaboration.
“Public health, safety and security are always the top priorities at Pittsburgh International Airport. Working with companies like Honeywell through our xBridge innovation center allows us to not only test new technologies but also look for ways to solve bigger challenges that will improve the experience for our airline partners, staff and passengers,” said April Gasparri, senior vice president of Public Safety, Operations, and Maintenance for Pittsburgh International Airport. “The emphasis on air quality has greatly increased due to COVID-19, and airports must look to adjust our facilities for the long term to create safer environments for travelers and the people who make travel happen every day.”
The Honeywell Healthy Buildings dashboard can provide operational and passenger benefits to an airport. From an operational perspective, it can visualize information via a single screen to allow the Pittsburgh facilities staff to make real-time decisions based on air quality fluctuations. For example, if increased occupancy creates higher carbon dioxide levels, the airport can immediately respond to improve social distancing or increase airflow to the HVAC system in a specific zone. In the future, travelers will be able to benefit by visually seeing the building health information in a user-friendly dashboard.
Additionally, the airport plans to use Honeywell Forge to conduct condition-based maintenance focused on MERV 13 filters in its air-handling units. By monitoring particulate matter and volatile organic compounds using Honeywell’s dashboard, airport personnel will be able to identify filters that require changing based on need versus a maintenance schedule to avoid costly, unnecessary filter changes. Honeywell Forge proactively analyzes building controllers and mechanical assets and provides near real-time insights via intuitive dashboards that can reduce unplanned reactive work on building systems.
Based on a recent survey fielded by Honeywell, 61% of surveyed airport workers were particularly concerned about potential COVID-19 transmission through the air and 40% of surveyed airport workers identified outdated ventilation systems as a bigger safety threat than co-workers not following safety guidelines.1
“Airports face challenges managing indoor air quality such as outdoor pollutants from airside operations, varying occupancy density and numerous zones with different heating and cooling demands. The team at Pittsburgh International Airport has an innovative mindset and is looking to identify ways to further improve its indoor air quality to solve these problems,” said Keith Fisher, vice president and general manager of services for Honeywell Building Technologies. “We’ve been able to deploy new solutions at Pittsburgh International Airport to keep it current with the latest technology and create a safer and healthier space without any downtime.”
1 The Honeywell survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com among 2,000 workers in buildings of 500+ workers in the following markets: U.S. (500), U.K. (500), Germany (500) and the Middle East (500), between November 19th and December 1st, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of countries’ population size for the Middle East.