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DFW Airport gains carbon neutral recognition

🕐 3 min read

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has become the nation’s first air hub to achieve Carbon Neutral status, one of only 23 airports worldwide to achieve the distinction. The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program upgraded the North Texas airport to “Level 3+ Neutrality”, the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports.

The recognition follows nearly two decades of sustainability efforts by DFW Airport to reduce its own emissions and carbon footprint, according to airport officials. The distinction reflects DFW’s regional effort to clean the air in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“This major achievement demonstrates DFW Airport’s commitment to serving our community and our world with a comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability,” said airport CEO Sean Donohue, commenting in a news release.

“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,” Donohue said.

Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon dioxide emissions over a full year are zero, meaning the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of carbon dioxide as it produces.

The airport’s new designation is accredited by Airport Carbon Accreditation, an international organization that monitors the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.  

Since 2010, DFW has achieved 29 percent reduction in carbon emissions on a per-passenger basis. Meanwhile, it gained an overall 38 percent reduction in energy costs as total passengers increased by 15 percent over the same period. 

Airport officials noted other achievements the North Texas’ biggest air hub made in the DFW Airport Sustainability Program include:

• Renewable Energy: DFW is committed to electrical consumption from renewable sources and has purchased and retired enough renewable energy credits to cover 100 percent of our annual usage

• Energy: DFW’s adoption of “Continuous Commissioning®” to fine-tune building heating and cooling systems has significantly lowered energy consumption across the Airport 

• Water: DFW installed water-conserving plumbing fixtures in restrooms to cut customer water usage across all five Airport terminals by 50 percent, saving over 5 million gallons of water each month 

• Water:  DFW partnered with neighboring cities to create a reclaimed water delivery system to conserve potable water in the region, reducing consumption by over 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

• Energy: In the summer, DFW takes its air conditioning systems offline during peak demand hours and cools six million square feet of terminal space with super-cooled water pumped from its Energy Plaza thermal storage infrastructure 

• 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

As part of the recognition, the airport 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, DFW CEO Sean Donohue and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport CEO Jos Nijhuis will become the first signees of the International Sustainable Airport Declaration, which will take place October 31 at the Airports Going Green Annual Conference in Amsterdam.

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