The boarding bridges are not directly air conditioned. Mounted under the bridge is an air handling unit, which provides pre-conditioned air to the aircraft while it is parked at the gate. During boarding and disembarking, air is exchanged between both the aircraft and the bridge, and the concourse and the bridge. As a result, conditioning the air in the bridges is inefficient and uncomfortable.
ThermaCote in reducing the heat load on passengers boarding bridges which was conducted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport from July 12 to August 15 2013. Passenger boarding bridges, air bridges, skyways and jet ways are not directly air conditioned. During boarding and disembarking, air is exchanged between both the aircraft and the bridge, and conditioning the air in the bridges is inefficient and uncomfortable. ThermaCote was applied to the boarding bridge, reducing heat gain, lowering interior temperature, and providing energy savings.
- Temperatures in the bridge coated with ThermaCote was consistently at least 2-3°F (~1.5°C) lower than in the uncoated bridge. The temperature difference appears around 10am and lasts through the night.
- The coated bridge was cooler at arrival, and continued to get cooler until departure. The coated bridge was consistently closer to human comfort levels.
- The coating appeared to reduced heat gain by an average of 69.5 btu/h (0.02 kW).
- The energy savings from the coated bridge were ~450 BTUs (.13kWh) a day. Those savings are split between the concourse and the preconditioned air handlers attached to the bridge.
- Since the product works in part by reflecting solar radiation, the savings do not necessarily apply to cold weather.