DFW International Airport: A Sustainability Leader

DFW International Airport’s (DFW) commitment to sustainable and socially responsible business practices remains steadfast. It has demonstrated that sustainability is good for business and has established a successful track record of reducing emissions, lowering operating costs, and driving economic value, all of which led to DFW becoming the first North American airport to achieve Carbon Neutral Status (2016) and largest carbon neutral airport in the world.

DFW’s sustainability initiatives align with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are a blueprint for creating more sustainable cities. In 2019, DFW’s initiatives advanced 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, an increase from 15 in 2018.

Key Initiatives

  • In 2020, DFW committed to an ambitious goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030, two decades ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendation to policy-makers.
  • DFW has reduced absolute carbon emissions by 79% since 2010.
  • Since 2010, reduced carbon emissions by 83% (per passenger) while simultaneously reducing overall electricity costs by 32%.
  • Purchasing 100% renewable electricity.
  • Increasing the amount of renewable fuel used in airport vehicles.
    • In 2020, 57% of the natural gas used in DFW’s fleet was renewable, shrinking DFW’s carbon footprint by over 6,300 tons of carbon dioxide. This reduction is equivalent to removing over 1,300 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
    • Currently, 70% of the natural gas used in DFW’s bus fleet is from renewables. This initiative resulted in over $1M in annual O&M savings while significantly reducing fleet emissions.
  • Converting terminal ramp lighting to LED lighting, estimated to save 4.4 million kWh of electricity per year and over $200,000 in annual costs.
  • Utilizing green building standards for all new construction.
  • Optimizing energy efficiency of all existing facilities.
  • In 2019, windows near the Terminal D Duty-Free and TGI Fridays locations were retrofitted with dynamic glass to reduce heating, ventilation and air conditioning loads and overall energy use while dramatically improving the customer experience. Dynamic glass is also the new standard for new facility construction, such as the Terminal D Extension and Integrated Operations Center (IOC).
  • All five terminals have been retrofitted with efficient plumbing fixtures, which lowered customer water usage by 50% and saved more than five million gallons of water each month.
  • Beginning in 2019, waste from construction projects, such as concrete debris, are recycled and reused in other airport projects.
    • The new Department of Public Safety (DPS) entry drive was constructed using aggregate generated from crushed slabs from the Runway 17C-35C rehabilitation project.
    • Runway 17C-35C rehabilitation achieved a 99.57% construction waste diversion rate. The project diverted a total of 112,788 tons of construction material from landfills.
    • The DPS Headquarters utilized 6,985 tons of recycled base material. This prevented generation of 197 metric tons of CO2e.

Partnerships and Recognition

  • In November, DFW became the first airport in the world to achieve the new 4+ level in ACI’s global Airport Carbon Accreditation Program. This level recognizes DFW’s commitment to decarbonize its operations and achieve Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) target of 2050.
  • DFW is working with NREL (National Renewal Energy Laboratory) and using Artificial Intelligence to study how it utilizes interior spaces and consumes energy in other major systems (e.g., HVAC, lighting, baggage handling, eGSE charging, etc.) so it can then use those insights to optimize energy consumption, costs, facility operations and maintenance, and impacts to the local grid.
  • In October, DFW was named to the 2020 Texan by Nature 20 (TxN20). The TxN20 is an official ranking that recognizes and celebrates the best work in conservation and sustainability coming from businesses operating in Texas. Texan by Nature is a non-profit organization, founded by former First Lady, Laura Bush.
  • In November 2020, DFW was recognized as the only airport recipient of the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Awards in the “Climate Neutral Now” category, for its RNG initiative. This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate leadership on climate action by nations, businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society as a whole.
  • In 2019, the FAA Southwest Region presented DFW with the Environmental Achievement Award acknowledging partners in the industry who have demonstrated advocacy for both the environment and community.
  • The United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change recognized DFW Airport as an official signatory of the “Climate Neutral Now” initiative. This pledge commits DFW to carbon neutrality through 2050.
  • DFW partners with The Alliance to Save Energy 50×50 Transportation Commission, which is focused on reducing energy use in the transportation sector by 50% by 2050.
  • DFW Airport ranks as the number one transportation partner on the EPA Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list.
  • DFW Airport and Coca-Cola North America kicked off a sustainability partnership in 2019. The organizations share a common goal of increasing recycling rates of plastic bottles. Over 13 million plastic bottles are sold at DFW annually, equating to 330 tons of plastic.