Environmental Responsibility

Dallas is a leader in environmental stewardship, working to improve the environment by focusing on resource conservation, policy compliance and continuous improvement.

Earth Hour

Since 2009, the City and members of the Dallas community have participated in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour event in March. Turning off lights at numerous City facilities and private buildings, including the downtown skyline signature buildings raises awareness about excess energy consumption.

Earth Day

For the third annual Earth Day Dallas event in April, City departments partnered to provide information to more than 48,000 attendees at Fair Park.

Environmental Management System

The City’s Environmental Management System (EMS) was designed, implemented, certified and recertified to ISO 14001:2004, an internationally recognized environmental management standard. After initial certification, Dallas became the first city in the nation to successfully implement a City-wide EMS across all major departments. Using the ISO standard gives the City a consistent, internationally recognized framework for managing environmental issues and improving operations.

By adopting the ISO 14001:2004 standard, the City:
• Commits to the highest international standard for environmental management.
• Assures continuous improvement through regular audits by third-party auditors.
• Mitigates the environmental impacts associated with City operations.
• Reduces the incidence of environmental infractions.

Building Green

The City’s goal is to achieve at least a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating in all City building projects of 10,000 square feet or more. In FY 2012-13, Dallas Fire Station #50 received LEED Gold certification; the 25th LEED certified City facility. To date, the City has one LEED Platinum, 10 LEED Gold, 13 LEED Silver, and one LEED Certified level facility. Through water efficient landscaping, solar panels and LED lighting, all newly constructed and remodeled Dallas fire stations are being built to LEED standards.

Green Building Ordinance

On September 26, 2012, the City Council created the Dallas Green Construction Code, delaying implementation of Phase II of the Green Building Ordinance until Oct. 1, 2013, allowing time for the city to address residential and commercial construction, green building provisions and alternative paths of compliance. The Dallas Green Construction Code, a version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is one of the compliance paths for new commercial construction. Dallas is the first city in the country to adopt the IgCC International Green Construction Code as a mandatory code for new commercial construction.

Green Dallas and Social Media

Green Dallas continues to serve as the City’s environmental information portal. Additionally, Green Dallas now maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Air quality and Energy Efficiency

The City of Dallas has many initiatives to reduce our negative impact on air quality. For example, about 40 percent of the city’s annual energy usage is purchased in the form of Renewable Energy Credits. These Credits help guarantee to those businesses that produce alternative energy security that there will be someone to buy their product.

The City Marshals Office also works to curb pollution by enforcing state air quality laws. Violations include outdoor burning of insulation material in illegal metal scrapping operations, burning of trash and idling large trucks.

The City’s Air Pollution Control group completed 849 compliance inspections, permits reviews and other related activities in FY 2012-13 and took appropriate action when violations were observed. Corporate sponsors have donated vehicle charging stations to help promote the use of electric vehicles. These new stations help put more low and zero emission vehicles on the road to improve air quality. Drivers of electric vehicles can charge them at City Hall, Fair Park, Love Field and many more places, all listed on GreenDallas.net under Transportation.

Reducing Vehicle Emissions

The City’s has one of the largest alternative fueled fleets in Texas and the nation with nearly 38 percent powered by biodiesel, natural gas or gas/electric hybrid engines. In FY 2012-13, the City continued to purchase biodiesel fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 20 percent compared with regular petroleum diesel. Biodiesel represents 12.7 percent of the City’s total annual fuel purchases. The City also continued to purchase compressed natural gas (CNG) as another alternative fuel source representing 10.8 percent of the City’s total annual fuel purchases. The CNG vehicle engines produce 97 percent less carbon monoxide and 25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions compared with gasoline-powered vehicles. The City also continued to purchase hybrid vehicles that generally produce 80 percent less harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases compared to gasoline vehicles.

Encouraging City Employees to Drive Less

Green Ride, an online commuter matching system, calculates emission reductions when employees report their commutes via biking, walking, mass-transit, telecommuting, flex or compressed scheduling, electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, motorcycles, carpooling, or walking to lunch. For the 2013 Ozone Season, City employees carpooled or alternatively commuted a total of 3,323,035 miles, saving approximately 5 tons VOC (volatile organic compounds), 3 tons NOx, and 1,564 tons CO2e and 39 tons CO from being released into the atmosphere. NOx and VOC are the primary components of ground level ozone or smog.

Landfill Gas Collection

Dallas continues to effectively mitigate landfill greenhouse gas emissions by actively capturing methane and other landfill gases for processing. The methane is captured, cleaned to pipeline quality and placed in the Atmos Energy pipeline for resale as natural gas. In FY 2012-13 approximately 16.4 billion cubic feet of landfill gas was captured and processed. This process, which mitigates landfill gas emissions, also resulted in approximately $2M in revenue to the City’s general fund.

Climate Change

In 2006, the Mayor of Dallas signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, a commitment by mayors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own cities and communities to seven percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The City of Dallas has met this goal, largely due to the purchase of 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources. A new greenhouse gas reduction goal for City operations was set in 2012: 35 percent below 2009 levels. The next inventory is planned for 2016 using data from 2015.

Green Energy

The City’s Green Energy initiative is the main contributor to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to seven percent below 1990 levels. Forty percent of the City’s electricity is provided by renewable resources. In 2010, the City Council authorized the continued purchase of alternative energy for another three years, keeping Dallas as one of the largest purchasers of renewable power in the nation. In 2013, the City remained among the top purchasers of green energy, ranked No. 4 on the EPA’s Top 20 Local Government Partner List.

Data Center Upgrade

The City’s datacenter continued to reduce power use in FY 2012-13 by implementing a server consolidation project. Electric metering is being installed on all new racks and servers and energy savings are calculated based on consumption information to show the difference between the power requirements of the older technology versus the newer, energy efficient technology.

Energy Performance Contracting

Energy Performance Contracting results in the installation of more energy efficient equipment and improved building operations in existing City facilities. Upgrades are paid for from future cost savings. The City continues to realize benefits from four previously implemented projects. Through additional audit findings, systems continue to be adjusted to for more dollar savings on utilities.

Converting Wastewater Biogas Into Electricity

In January 2011, Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) began operating a Cogeneration Facility to use methane produced during the wastewater treatment process to produce electricity. In FY 2012-13, the facility produced approximately 27 million kWh of renewable energy for use at the wastewater plant, reducing the City’s grid derived electricity needs by almost four percent. By offsetting power produced by coal power plants, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by approximately 36,000 tons.

Water Quality and Conservation

The City is committed to protecting the safety of its water and ensuring long-term sustainability of quality and supply. Sustainable management of our shared water resources is the driving force behind the City’s initiatives to conserve water and reuse wastewater.

A More Sustainable Water Utility

DWU embarked on an effort to improve quality, safety of its employees, and the environment by implementing quality and safety management systems to enhance its existing environmental management system. In August 2012, DWU gained certification to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 standards. This unified utility management approach has improved quality of product and processes, established procedures, and reduced risk.

The City’s wastewater treatment plants continue to meet TCEQ mandated permits by removing 99.9 percent of all regulated pollutants.

Five-Year Strategic Plan for Water Conservation

The 2010 Water Conservation Strategic Plan Update calls for reductions in gallons per capita by an average 1.5 percent per year through 2015. This goal will be met in part by a greater emphasis on industrial, commercial and institutional programming. Dallas’ conservation efforts also include universal meter testing, leak detection, main repair, plumbing fixture replacements, education and outreach initiatives, and a water-wise landscape program.

The City’s Hospitality Industry Program encourages water use efficiency among hotels, motels and restaurants. Participating hotels and motels have instituted linen and towel reuse programs. Participating restaurants serve water only upon request. To date, 44 hotels/motels and 33 restaurants are involved in the program.

All totaled for FY 2012-13, the City of Dallas Water Utilities, including wholesale sales, used approximately 143 billion gallons of water at a cost of approximately $100.1 million. DWU’s efforts to conserve water within the city have resulted in a 12 percent decrease in annual usage since adoption of stricter conservation measures in FY 2000-01. From FY 2001-02 through FY 2011-12, ongoing water conservation efforts and implementation of the Strategic Plan have helped Dallas save more than 200 billion gallons of water.

Maximum Twice Weekly Watering Restrictions

The City Council amended water conservation provisions to include permanent restrictions limiting outdoor irrigation to a maximum of two days per week. A twice weekly or less watering schedule provides a path forward for Dallas and the region to continue to use water wisely and lead the way in statewide water conservation initiatives. Reducing seasonal water use could also delay the need for new water supplies. Since implementation of the Twice Weekly Watering Program in April 2012, water consumption has been reduced by approximately 4 percent.

Regional Recognition for Water Conservation

The American Advertising Federation recognized the City of Dallas Water Utilities’ water conservation education and outreach efforts with a 2013 ADDY Award for Best of Show Broadcast for the Lawn Whisperer Regional Public Awareness Campaign.

Cease the Grease

Dallas Water Utilities entered into a voluntary Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Initiative Agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The 10-year agreement, which began in 2007 and is administered by TCEQ, requires DWU to meet annual infrastructure, education and proactive maintenance goals. Under the initiative, the Grease Abatement Program, called Cease the Grease is required to attend 12 outreach events per year. In FY 2012-13, Cease the Grease attended 366 outreach events to educate the public on proper disposal methods.

In addition, the program is required to inspect 1,000 grease generating facilities to help curb improper handling at facilities that generate large amounts of grease. In FY 2012-13, 1,758 grease generating facilities were inspected.

DWU also disseminates proper grease disposal information to residential customers by providing water bill inserts to approximately 260,000 customers in three different months of FY 2012-13. Since 2011, in partnership with Dallas Fire Rescue, DWU has used various fire stations to serve as collection points for citizens to drop off used cooking oil in the Cease the Grease campaign.

Cease the Grease continued working with the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) and was part of the Lake West Picnic held in conjunction with the Nasher Sculpture Center Art installation. Abel Gonzales, State Fair of Texas fried food champion and judge on Destination America’s Fried Food Masters, is the face of the Cease the Grease Fall media campaign and has appeared on a water bill insert, billboards, radio, and cable television. Gonzales and Grease Abatement staff appeared on Good Morning Texas promoting cooking oil recycling.

Cease the Grease received the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association 2013 Green Three Award for Excellence in Material Recovery. The Department was recognized for collecting and recycling used cooking oil for the production of electricity. Throughout the year, the program’s staff collected over 5,800 gallons of used cooking oil.

Waste Diversion and Recycling Education

The City of Dallas’ environmental commitment extends to how it manages waste from consumer byproducts. Sanitation Services collects and responsibly disposes of hundreds of tons of materials each year. Most important, the City diverts materials to help extend the life of its 2,000 acre wildlife habitat and landfill, McCommas Bluff. The Bluff is home to birds, deer, foxes and javelina (wild pig); and neighbors the Trinity River and the Trinity Audubon Center in southeast Dallas.

Dallas has more than 120 recycling drop-off sites and in FY 2012-13 over 73 percent of Dallas sanitation customers had a recycling roll cart. This participation rate resulted in 53,000 tons of recyclables being kept out of the McCommas Bluff Landfill. These commodities were sold at market and yielded $2M in revenue which helps offset cost residential sanitation fee costs.

Dallas makes it convenient for residents to recycle scrap metal, tires, electronics, clothing, batteries, and even household hazardous waste during its annual special recycling collections. Dallas participates in the Dallas County Household Hazardous Waste Network which allows residents to drop off household hazardous waste like paint, pool and lawn chemicals, antifreeze and aerosol spray cans free year-round at 11234 Plano Road.

Local Solid Waste Management Plan

On February 27, 2013, the City Council adopted Dallas’ Local Solid Waste Management Plan (LSWMP). Through public meetings with various stakeholders, the City learned what their priorities, concerns, and ideas were to move Dallas to “Zero Waste.” This input helped shape the final plan adopted by the City Council.

Dallas will implement LSWMP over the next 50 years, with short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Dallas made the commitment because the City realizes that progressive goals, such as achieving “Zero Waste” are critical to the future of Dallas. The city will work with private haulers, residents, associations, environmental groups, businesses, and others to meet these goals.

Product Stewardship

Product stewardship, or extended producer responsibility, is the act of minimizing health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of products during their manufacture, use and disposal while maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging. The City of Dallas continues to support policies that promote product stewardship by serving on the Texas Product Stewardship Council (TxPSC), comprised of municipal waste diversion leaders from across the state tasked with addressing hard to dispose of items such as electronic waste, scrap tires, paint, carpet and pharmaceuticals. The TxPSC, educates municipal leaders and the public about the importance of incorporating product stewardship in everyday life.

Reverse Litter Campaign

The city participated with the Tarrant Regional Water District, and the cities of Arlington, Fort Worth, Irving and Denton in FY 2012-13 to implement the Reverse Litter Campaign. This regional media campaign challenged individuals across north Texas to be more aware of litter and its impact on our lives and environment. An online presence and social media activity is also part of the campaign.

Operation Beautification

The City’s Operation Beautification event in November 2012 encouraged neighborhood cleanups and civic pride. Working with corporate partners including Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo and CVS Caremark, and local and national non-profit partners such as The Mission Continues of St. Louis, and the Ocean Conservancy and Student Conservation Association of Washington, D.C., volunteers collected approximately 17 tons of trash and brush.

Municipal Setting Designation

The Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) is a land use tool which promotes redevelopment of contaminated properties but restricts certain land uses to protect human health and the environment. If there is a public water supply to the property and all properties within a half-mile radius, an MSD ordinance can be requested to prohibit the use of groundwater as drinking water at that property, prohibiting installation of water wells. This prohibition then allows otherwise underutilized land to be used and redeveloped.

In FY 2012-2013, one MSD was approved by the City Council, including 18.80 acres of property, promoting economic development of property in Dallas. Since its inception in 2005, 1,791.73 acres have been approved to be part of an MSD in the City of Dallas.The City of Dallas is a leader in Texas as the municipality with the most MSDs approved.

Planning for the Future

The City continues to use its long-range strategic plans to promote economic vibrancy, environmental stewardship and equal access and opportunity for everyone in Dallas. These plans enhance walking and biking, promote air quality, conserve and protect water resources, complement the Environmental Management System.

Sustainability Plan

Like many other cities across the globe, Dallas has developed various plans to address individual topic areas of sustainable growth. The Five Year Water Conservation Plan is a sustainability plan for Dallas Water Utilities. The forwardDallas! plan addresses land use from the sustainability development viewpoint.

At the end of FY 2011-12, OEQ presented a City Council Committee with a draft Sustainability Plan that addresses air quality, land use, water quality, materials management, and energy from an environmental management perspective in line with the City Council’s Strategic Plan.

Urban Heat Island

Urban Heat Islands increase temperatures created by heat retaining structures such as roads and dark colored roofs. Increasing green space and flat-surface reflectivity helps offset the heat island effect. The Main Street Garden, Klyde Warren Park, and Belo Garden will help bring cooler temperatures to the city’s urban core. All three parks have replaced heat absorbing surfaces with natural landscapes, additional trees and the Green Building Ordinance will help further reduce the heat island

Turf Management
Park Maintenance Services implemented a successful Turf Management Program that included pre-emergent and post-emergent treatments and fertilizer applications at athletic fields, recreation centers, and other high-use and high-visibility park lands. The turf management program improves turf quality and reduces weeds, thereby reducing the number of mowing cycles over time.