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Green Buildings Take Off; DFW International Airport Recognized for Sustainability Efforts

October 2005 - Facilities Management

DFW International Airport is being recognized for its work in reducing energy consumption and air pollution and making North Texas a "greener" place to live and visit. The airport is receiving the Alliance to Save Energy’s “Star of Energy Efficiency” award for its green efforts, including operational improvements to the vehicle fleet, utility plant, rental car facility and Terminal B.

"The value of a program that calls for a complete conversion of a vehicle fleet, retrofit of a utility plant, and continuous monitoring of significant airport facilities is really immeasurable," said Jim Crites, executive vice president of DFW Operations. "There is a dollar and cents number that we attribute to our cost savings, but the real value is the well-being of people in the region because of the lower levels of air pollutants. I hope that other airports around the nation and especially other North Texas businesses and governments continue to do their part in improving air quality."

The DFW International Airport Board was selected as a Star of Energy Efficiency recipient for its aggressive pursuit and commitment to the efficient and environmentally friendly use of energy. DFW is the first airport to be recognized for this honor as well as the first entity in the aviation world.

"DFW International Airport is well on its way to becoming one of the world's 'greenest airports' and already leads the airline industry in energy and environmental stewardship," said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. "We are proud to add DFW to the list of innovative and forward-looking recipients of our Stars of Energy Efficiency awards."

"Responding to the events of September 11, and new requirements placed on the region by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, we needed to cut costs and improve our air quality," said Crites. "DFW implemented a $122 million plan to upgrade the Energy Plaza (utility plant). We have also worked to convert our vehicle fleet to alternative fuels and have used federal grants to implement energy saving protocols at Terminal B and the rental car center."

Significant upgrades were made to DFW's Energy Plaza, including replacing the chillers, boilers, automated controls and installing a new 6 million gallon thermal energy storage system to lower energy consumption during the afternoon hours when energy costs are higher.

The thermal energy storage system reduces the energy consumption during the peak afternoon hours by 77 percent — cooling water overnight that is used to cool the airport facilities. The initiative will save the Airport approximately $300,000 annually.

"During the same time frame the Airport began several major energy management initiatives to reduce energy use in its new and existing passenger terminals and supporting airport facilities," said Crites. "We have seen a 28 percent energy reduction at the Energy Plaza since 2001. In addition we have lowered our nitrous oxide by 86 percent, far exceeding the state mandate."

A detailed energy assessment was completed in the 675,000 square-foot Terminal B with a 2002 Department of Energy Rebuild America grant. A Texas A&M Energy Systems Laboratory report identified operational and lighting improvements representing a 17 percent energy reduction. A second grant was then used to conduct an extensive continuous commissioning effort in the rental car facility with similar results.

"After the success of Terminal B and the Rent-A-Car Facility we knew that we needed to institute continuous commissioning of our new International Terminal D," said Crites. "I could not be prouder of the programs that we have begun. DFW is well on its way to becoming the greenest Airport in the world. And our employees work hard every day to make our region a cleaner place to live."

DFW is a member of the non-profit group Green Airport Initiative, dedicated to smart growth and energy efficiency, as well as an Energy Star partner with the Environmental Protection Agency.


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