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DFW Airport receives carbon neutral rating

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport has become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status, one of only 23 airports worldwide to achieve the milestone distinction.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Programme upgraded DFW Airport to ‘Level 3plus Neutrality’, which is the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports. The recognition culminates nearly two decades of sustainability efforts by DFW Airport to reduce its own emissions and carbon footprint, and thereby contribute to the 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 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. I want to thank and congratulate our team for this outstanding accomplishment."

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 recognised and accredited by ACA, an international organisation that monitors the efforts of airports to manage and reduce their carbon emissions.

"We recognise 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 neighbours."

Since 2010, DFW has achieved a 29% reduction in carbon emissions on a per passenger basis as well as an overall 38% reduction in energy costs, even while total passengers at the airport increased by 15% over the same period.

Other notable achievements for the DFW Airport Sustainability Programme include:

  • Renewable Energy: DFW is committed to electrical consumption from renewable sources and has purchased and retired enough renewable energy credits to cover 100% of 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%, saving over 5 million gal. of water each month.
  • Water: DFW partnered with neighbouring cities to create a reclaimed water delivery system to conserve potable water in the region, reducing consumption by over 100 million gall./y.
  • 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% 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 ft2 of terminal space with super cooled water pumped from its Energy Plaza thermal storage infrastructure.
  • Recycling: Over 180 000 t of materials pulled from terminal renovations under the Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP) have been recycled or diverted from landfills.

"While this recognition shows that DFW has made considerable progress towards a more sustainable community, we remain committed to future advancement on environmental issues," said Donohue. "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 3plus 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 31 October at the Airports Going Green Annual Conference in Amsterdam.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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