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DFW Airport is the first U.S. airport to be “carbon neutral”

Using wind energy and converting its bus fleet to compressed natural gas vehicles have helped Dallas/Fort Worth Airport reduce its carbon emissions.

As a result, on Thursday, DFW announced it is the first U.S. airport to be “carbon neutral” and is only one of 23 airports in the world to achieve the distinction from the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program.

“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,” said airport chief executive Sean Donohue.

Since 2010, DFW has reduced its carbon emissions per passenger by 29 percent and reduced energy costs by 38 percent even as the airport handled 15 percent more passengers.

Ninety-five percent of the airport’s vehicle fleet was converted to alternative fuels and has saved the airport $22 million, said Robert Horton, the airport’s vice president of environmental affairs. It has also installed water-conserving plumbing fixtures in passenger bathrooms that have cut usage at the terminals by 50 percent, saving about 5 million gallons of water each month.

“The commitment to use renewable energy and sustainable building standards has all proven their value,” Horton told the airport board on Thursday.

The airport’s carbon accreditation rating does not include carbon emissions from airplanes as the airport does not determine which aircraft an airline operates at the airport.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to impose limits on aircraft emissions as jet engines release significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the upper atmosphere. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers have opposed emissions limits that are stricter than those proposed by international agencies.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk