Dallas Fort Worth becomes the first North American airport to achieve carbon neutrality
Wed 17 Aug 2016 – Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) has become the first airport in North America to achieve carbon neutral status in the industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) certification programme. It joins 23 other, mainly European, airports to reach this highest level, which requires the airport to purchase internationally recognised carbon offsets for those direct and indirect emissions over which it has control, having already fulfilled the requirements of the three lower levels of the programme. Since 2010, points out DFW, it has achieved a 29% reduction in carbon emissions as well as an overall 38% reduction in energy costs. During the same period, total passengers increased by 15%. The airport says it is committed to using renewable sources for its electrical consumption and its vehicle fleet has been almost completely converted to compressed natural gas.
“This major achievement demonstrates DFW’s commitment to serving our community and our world with a comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability,” said Sean Donohue, CEO. “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.
DFW says it has purchased and retired enough renewable energy credits to cover its full annual usage. It has adopted a process called continuous commissioning to fine-tune building heating and cooling systems, which has led to significantly lower energy consumption across the airport. In the summer, the airport takes its air conditioning systems offline during peak demand hours and cools 6 million square feet (557,000m2) of terminal space with super-cooled water pumped from its Energy Plaza thermal storage infrastructure.
Customer water usage in restrooms across the five terminals has been cut by 50% through installing water-conserving plumbing fixtures, saving over 5 million gallons of water each month. DFW has also partnered with neighbouring cities to create a reclaimed water delivery system to conserve potable water in the region, which is reducing consumption by over 100 million gallons per year.
The conversion of the airport’s vehicle fleet to cleaner burning compressed natural gas has led to carbon emission reductions of 25%, while saving millions of dollars in fuel costs. The airport reports that 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.
“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.”
Donohue is to join Jos Nijhuis, CEO of Amsterdam Schiphol, another ACA carbon neutral level airport, in becoming the first signees of a new initiative called the International Sustainable Airport Declaration during the Airports Going Green annual conference taking place in Amsterdam in late October.