Fast-growing, carbon-neutral Dallas Fort Worth reaches emissions reduction goal two years early
(photo: DFW International Airport)
Tue 23 July 2019 – The world’s largest carbon-neutral airport, Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW), says its goal to reduce carbon emissions per passenger by 15% by 2020 compared with 2015, equivalent to a 3% annual reduction, has been achieved two years early. Since 2010, it has reduced emissions per passenger by 83% and overall electricity costs by 27%, while passenger numbers increased 22% over the same period, according to DFW’s latest annual Environmental Social Governance Report 2018. The airport purchases all its electricity from Texas wind farms. To further diversify energy sources, the airport has installed and now operates on-site solar and geothermal renewable technologies. With North Texas being among the country’s fastest growing regions and passenger numbers expected to continue rising, DFW says it is continually seeking new ways to decrease its impact on the environment.
DFW has recently received its carbon neutral certification airport sector’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for the third year in a row and was the first airport in North America to receive a three-year accreditation. It says its approach to sustainability focuses on four key pillars: economic viability, social responsibility, operational efficiency and natural resources protection.
“As we grow, we continue to invest the time and resources to ensure that strong environmental, social and governance practices are ingrained in our culture and our operations,” said DFW CEO Sean Donohue in the introduction to the report. “In fiscal year 2018, our sustainability efforts addressed 15 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are the basis of a comprehensive framework that addresses key issues affecting the world.”
Over the last three years, the airport has experienced significant growth and reached a record 69 million passengers in 2018, which is projected to increase to 73 million in 2019.
“Running the airport sustainably is good for our business and is key to the long-term vitality of North Texas,” said Donohue. “We expect to keep growing – likely more in the next two years than in the last decade. Our promise is that we will grow responsibly.”
The airport has developed a 10-year, multibillion-dollar plan to address its ageing infrastructure. It is incorporating green building standards in all new construction projects and optimising the operations of older facilities to increase energy efficiency and water conservation.
DFW is partnering with Texas A&M University’s Energy Systems Lab on the adoption of a continuous commissioning process to fine-tune building heating and cooling systems that are expected to significantly lower energy consumption across the airport. In 2018, it secured a contract for dynamic glass to be installed in the terminals that minimises up to 67% of solar heat gain compared to existing glass, and helps improve passenger and employee comfort. Supported by a FAA Energy Efficiency grant, a project began last year to upgrade to LED lighting on the terminal ramps, which is expected to save more than four million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
In 2018, 36% of fuel consumption from DFW’s transportation fleet was from renewable natural gas (RNG), exceeding the annual goal of 10%. RNG is a renewable fuel source captured from landfills or wastewater treatment plants. RNG reduces life-cycle emissions, provides cost savings and generates revenue from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard Program. DFW said its use of RNG generated a $100,000 renewable fuel rebate and $1 million in savings.
DFW has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with renewable fuel supplier Neste to facilitate the use of sustainable transportation fuels at the airport, such as sustainable aviation fuels, renewable diesel and propane.
In fiscal year 2018, DFW identified waste as a priority area to reduce its landfill diversion rates and a new Zero Waste Program was launched to reduce rates by around 45%. Around 180,000 tons of waste were diverted from landfills last year through recycling.
Comparison of dynamic glass with previous static glass: