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First North American Airport Achieves Carbon Neutrality

Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport has become the first carbon neutral airport in North America by switching to renewable energy sources and converting its bus fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles, among other low-carbon initiatives.

The Airport Carbon Accreditation Program upgraded DFW Airport to “Level 3+ Neutrality,” which is the highest level of environmental achievement available to airports.

DFW Airport has been working to reduce its emissions and carbon footprint for almost two decades.

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

The airport also has purchased and retired enough renewable energy credits to cover 100 percent of its annual usage and employed energy-efficiency technologies — such as “Continuous Commissioning” to fine-tune building heating and cooling systems — to lower its energy consumption.

Ninety-five percent DFW’s vehicle fleet has been converted to compressed natural gas, cutting the airport fleet’s carbon emissions by 25 percent and saving $22 million in fuel costs, according to Robert Horton, the airport’s vice president of environmental affairs.

The airport has also taken steps to reduce its water and waste. This includes installing water-conserving plumbing fixtures in restrooms to cut customer water usage across all five terminals by 50 percent, saving more than 5 million gallons of water each month.

Additionally, DFW has 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.

And more than 180,000 tons of materials pulled from terminal renovations has been recycled or diverted from landfills.

The airport’s carbon neutrality accreditation rating does not include airplane emissions — and it comes as the EPA is cracking down on planes’ carbon pollution.

Last month, the agency said it will impose emissions limits on airplanes after determining that this pollution endangers the environment as well as human health.

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