With convenient access to people arriving from Asia, America and Europe, Darwin International Airport is an invaluable gateway to Australia for international travellers. And as the only airport serving Darwin – and the busiest airport in the Northern Territory – it is also a crucial domestic destination. This strategic position of the facility means that over 2 million travellers pass throughout the airport every year.

Being such a pertinent destination, it's always been paramount that the airport’s infrastructure communicates a sense of place – and welcomes passengers with an impressive, comfortable and high-end space that offers respite from the harsh weather conditions outside. However, with the ongoing influx of people, the constantly opened foyer door would let out the cool, soothing air – and bring in gusts of warm, humid air from the outside instead.

In the attempt to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the terminal, the airport had to compensate for the tropical warmth coming in through the door by turning the air-condition set-point down – and, unfortunately, using more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature to guests below.

Subsequently, the airport looked to install industrial fans to help mitigate the issue, and decrease the energy utilised to control the temperature. “We have our Industrial range, which includes Essence and Powerfoil products,” explains Ario Narisworoputro, Engineer at Big Ass Fans. “So we did a simulation with Powerfoil X3.0, Powerfoil D and the Essence – and the one that was aligned with the airport’s functional needs, budget and aesthetic preferences was the Essence model.”

As part of the stimulation, Big Ass Fans assessed the right size, number and distribution of the required fans, and, as a result, 10 Essence fans were installed in the foyer, with Darwin International Airport incorporating the fans as part of the design of the future hangars and development.

Stylish yet unobtrusive, these industrial products move air in an effective, yet noiseless manner and create a gentle breeze throughout the terminal. The increased speed of moving air transported by the blades, causes for the temperature to feel desirably cooler to the occupants and travellers.

As a result of this mindful update, International Darwin Airport was able to decrease the air conditioning set-point by 2°C. “And while that might not seem like a significant number, when a cooling temperature set-point within a space is increased, the conductive losses through the walls to the outdoors also decrease. As a result, the energy required to cool the outdoor ventilation air to the indoor air temperature is significantly reduced,” says Glen Newport, Senior Technical Officer of Darwin International Airport.

This kind of space temperature increase reduces each of these loads by approximately 10% or – in case of the Northern Territory’s main airport – by a very tangible $57K per year in costs, and 203 MWh per year in energy saving. This staggering amount of energy could run 30 homes – or take 54 cars off the road.

“And since the space temperature setpoint is higher with a fan, the economiser high limit temperature may also be greater, resulting in more hours when economiser may be used in lieu of DX cooling. Increasing the high-limit shutoff setting by 2°C equates to an additional 410 hours of economiser operation – an important factor underpinning the significant savings,” adds Ario.

With improved temperature control and comfort levels throughout the terminal, significant environmental improvements and impressive cost savings, the installation of the Essence fans at Darwin International Airport has certainly given the facility wings where sustainability, wellbeing and efficient operations are involved