Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport has become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status after the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program upgraded DFW Airport to “Level 3+ Neutrality,” the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports. DFW is one of only 23 airports worldwide to achieve the milestone distinction.
Carbon neutral program takes flight
The recognition is the culmination of nearly two decades of sustainability efforts by DFW Airport to reduce its emissions and carbon footprint. The carbon neutral program contributes to efforts to clean the air throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth region.
“This major achievement demonstrates DFW Airport’s commitment to serving our community and our world with a comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “Our team has made major strides in reducing DFW’s carbon footprint by how we manage precious resources such as energy and water, and how the airport manages vehicle fuels, emissions, waste, recycling and our land.”
Truly carbon neutral?
Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon dioxide emissions over an entire year is zero, meaning the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of carbon dioxide as it produces. The achievement is recognized and accredited by Airport Carbon Accreditation, an international organization that monitors the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.
“We recognize that environmental improvement is an economic, social and business imperative for the airport and for the community we serve,” said Jim Crites, executive vice president for operations at DFW Airport. “Sustainability touches everyone and this work helps ensure a brighter tomorrow for our children as well as our Dallas/Fort Worth area partners and neighbors.”
Since 2010, DFW has achieved a 29 percent reduction in carbon emissions on a per-passenger basis, as well as an overall 38 percent reduction in energy costs, even while total passengers at the airport increased by 15 percent over the same period.
Other notable achievements for the DFW Airport Sustainability Program include:
- Energy: DFW is committed to electrical consumption from renewable sources and has purchased and retired enough renewable energy credits to cover 100 percent of the annual usage. In the summer, DFW takes its air-conditioning systems offline during peak demand hours and cools 6 million square feet of terminal space with super-cooled water pumped from its Energy Plaza thermal storage infrastructure.
- Water: DFW installed water-conserving plumbing fixtures in restrooms to cut customer water usage across all five airport terminals by 50 percent, saving more than 5 million gallons of water each month. The airport also partnered with neighboring cities to create a reclaimed water delivery system to conserve potable water in the region, reducing consumption by more than 100 million gallons per year.
- Vehicle Emissions: DFW’s vehicle fleet has been almost completely converted to clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG), cutting the airport fleet’s carbon emissions by 25 percent while saving millions in fuel costs.
- Recycling: Over 180,000 tons of materials pulled from terminal renovations under the Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP) have been recycled or diverted from landfills.
Committed to the future
“While this recognition shows that DFW has made considerable progress toward a more sustainable community, we remain committed to future advancement on environmental issues,” Donohue said. “We have a lot of work left to do and a lot of knowledge to gain and share, so our vision for a more sustainable enterprise will require commitment, innovation and collaboration for many years to come.”
As part of the recognition, DFW will be highlighted at the ACI-World Annual Conference/World Annual General Assembly in late September in Montréal as the first North American airport to achieve “Level 3+ Neutrality.”
Additionally, Donohue and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport CEO Jos Nijhuis will become the first signees of the International Sustainable Airport Declaration, which will take place Oct. 31 at the Airports Going Green annual conference in Amsterdam.
Feature image credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock
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