Behind Dallas-Fort Worth’s Grand Goals to Be the Greenest Airport on the Planet – Skift

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport hopes to become a global model for a modern green airport.

By continually looking for green measures and moving closer to a net zero carbon footprint target by 2030, the airport aims to build on the $ 45 million annual cost savings it made last year, said Robert Horton, Vice President of Airport Environmental Affairs and Sustainability.

The road to sustainability for one of the country’s largest airports, located on 18,000 acres, came about 20 years ago with the Environmental Protection Agency’s discovery that the North Texas region and the airport’s air quality were unhealthy, Horton said. And as the airport looked for ways to reduce emissions, its savings increased.

“In the time we’ve been cutting emissions, we’ve found that many of the strategies we’ve used have not only reduced our emissions, but also our costs,” said Horton. “For example, the consolidation of our car rental center, which will reduce the kilometers traveled by our buses by almost 60 percent. Or install a heat storage system for our central plant that manages the heating and cooling of our terminals. “

Dallas-Fort Worth fleet of eco-friendly shuttles. Photo courtesy of DFW Airport

For little to no cost, the thermal storage system uses waste energy to supercool liquid during the night and circulates that liquid during the day to cool the terminal, Horton said. This helps the airport go offline and get paid for it.

More than 50 percent of the airport’s savings result from cost avoidance alone. After landfill waste costs have doubled in the past five years. Dallas-Fort Worth has implemented a construction waste disposal program, which Horton says will help save money and remove waste from landfills.

“When you think of the runway projects we’ve done, there’s concrete. Five foot thick materials that you need to remove to replace the runway, and all of those materials we found ways to recycle them and prevent them from being landfilled, ”said Horton. “That added up to $ 25 million in avoided costs of finding ways to reuse more than 560,000 tons of construction waste.”

The airport is also running a zero-waste program that demonstrates the benefits of removing valuable content from waste streams, Horton said. Part of this includes a new program in which 30 to 40 percent of the food waste generated by the airport is separated and sent to organic farms for composting or animal feed. Dallas-Fort Worth then buys renewable natural gas from the organic waste in landfills to power the airport buses.

In addition, Dallas-Fort Worth is poised to use less energy and increase savings with the opening of Terminal D expansions this month, which feature dynamic glass, a type of glass that tints with the rays of the sun, similar to transition glasses. The use of dynamic glass in Terminal A has benefited the Twisted Root restaurant in that terminal, Horton said.

“Before we installed the glass in this restaurant, they couldn’t get customers to sit in the bar area, and if you can’t have customers sit at your bar, your bar sales won’t work as they should. But as soon as we put the glass in, the bar was full, ”said Horton.

With more than 70 percent of the airport’s footprint in electricity purchases, DFW was able to move forever to renewable energy with the purchase of 100 percent wind energy, which significantly lowered the cost, which the airport paid for the first time in 30 years, Horton said.

According to Horton, the current difference between carbon neutrality and net zero carbon is that the airport is allowed to buy offsets. To offset future negative impacts, the airport must actually take steps to remove the excess carbon from the atmosphere without acquiring offsetting payments. Dallas-Fort Worth pledges to hit net zero by 2030, 20 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement, he said.

As part of this, Dallas-Fort Worth has many sustainability partnerships, including one with American Airlines to jointly purchase power while improving the airline’s presence.

Dallas-Fort Worth is the starting airport in North America for the Airport Council International (ACI) rating of 4 plus and the first airport on the continent to be carbon neutral, said Melinda Pagliarello, director of environmental affairs for the airport trading group.

If an airport is looking to improve, nearly 90 percent of its scale comes from electricity, and there are things they can do in their envelopes to be energy efficient, Pagliarello said.

Implementing some of these steps will reduce carbon dioxide, and some green projects have the potential to get a quick return on investment by saving a significant amount of money on annual operating costs, she said.

Dallas isn’t the only one focusing on the environment. In Maine, Portland International Jetport has saved $ 100,000 annually in heating oil and electricity bills by installing solar and geothermal energy, said Paul Bradbury, director of the airport.

Portland Airport, Maine de-icing

An aircraft receives a de-icing system made with recovered aircraft de-icing fluid at Portland International Jetport. Photo courtesy Portland International Jetport.

The airport also saves a significant amount in cold climates by producing all of its deicing fluid on its own with recovered aircraft fluid, Bradbury said.

A few hundred miles south of Portland, Newark Liberty International Airport is also helping to get greener. The airport has a fleet of 12 electric shuttle buses and a specific recycling program.

“As part of the ongoing construction for the new terminal At Newark Liberty International Airport, over 30,820 tons of asphalt, 101,511 tons of concrete and 61,597 tons of earth have already been recycled for the construction of the new terminal, the bridge N60 Frontage Road Bridge and the pedestrian bridge that connects pedestrians with the departures of the new terminal, ”said Level Newark spokeswoman Abigail Goldring.

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