Resiliency trends in airport planning: Exploring MBCx

Comfortable customers are happy customers.

Our last post about resiliency addressed it as a key consideration for airports and the aviation industry as they look to position themselves for a successful future. In this post, we examine how monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) could play a role in resiliency efforts.

The MBCx process involves using sensors to gather data, which is stored, analyzed and reported with the goal of enhancing equipment efficiency and performance. Hanson is completing an MBCx pilot program at our headquarters in Springfield, Illinois. With this program, we are pulling data every 15 minutes from a building controls system installed in 2007. Many lines of code, in a few iterations, are required to get the building controllers to push the desired data from our building automation system to the cloud. This is an excellent demonstration of the flexibility of our process and the ability to integrate challenging control systems into our analytics platform, SkySpark.

Using our innovative program, our team of Wade Conlan, P.E., CxA, BCxP, LEED AP® BD+C; Mat Coalson, E.I.; Tim Schroeder; Bill Bradford, P.E.; and Tom Bartolomucci, P.E., S.E., developed deployment and financial viability plans. Hanson funded the pilot program, and the statistics analysis is ongoing. Our MBCx services are ready for scaling to any of our customers who maintain buildings of any size, including airport terminals, passenger concourses and administrative and operational facilities.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a study in 2019 that analyzed 94 million square feet of space, using MBCx and energy management systems. The results showed that the owners’ median energy savings was 7%, which equates to a median savings of $0.19 per square foot. Successful data analytics, which are at the heart of MBCx, help us develop accurate and actionable insights. With that data, owners can move beyond comparing their buildings to Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey information of similar building types and begin to build baselines personalized for their requirements. The most common requirements are resiliency, occupant comfort, total operation cost and energy efficiency. Those requirements are tailored to address each owner’s key performance indicators.

Traditional MBCx strategies include fault detection diagnostics, which facilitate the proactive maintenance of systems, as opposed to reactive maintenance. This reduces equipment downtime, improves comfort and makes planning for replacement costs easier. But there are more options for using the data to the owner’s advantage.

Tracking years of day-by-day operational loads gives building owners a detailed understanding of their energy requirements throughout the year, including anomalous weather scenarios. That information can be used to better size backup generation, which reduces capital costs and maintenance while improving resiliency to unexpected events. The same information can be used to minimize time-of-day charges and demand charges by informing load-shedding strategies.

The program allows travelers to access a simple comfort survey on their phones that identifies rogue zones and gauges if they are comfortable. These advanced strategies can serve the dual purposes of increasing traveler engagement and improving maintenance.

With MBCx in place, owners have an ever-increasing body of knowledge about their buildings. Properly organized and managed, this information will inform improved efficiency, increase occupant comfort and reduce the building’s operational costs. In the end, it’s a major win for all parties involved, improving the airport’s public outreach, promoting customer comfort and helping the airport’s bottom line.

For more information, please contact Bill Bradford at, Wade Conlan at or Eric Menger at