How Rising Temps in DFW Lead to a Data-Driven Solution

Aug 9, 2018 1:40 PM ET

Listening closely to our clients. Digging deeper to understand their goals and challenges. Collaborating with them on innovative solutions. These are critical to our business success – and guide our approach to community relationships.

When our partners at Texas Trees Foundation told us about rising temperatures in Dallas – and the associated effects on public health, infrastructure and the local economy – we listened. Then we funded a comprehensive urban heat island study to learn more.

The findings: Dallas is the second-fastest warming U.S. city, behind Phoenix. Just this July, most of North Texas was under an Excessive Heat Warning, with temps soaring into the triple digits. Because more than one-third of Dallas is covered in pavement and buildings, which contribute significantly to the urban heat island effect, temps in downtown areas can be 15°F more compared to rural areas. The data from the study also supported evidence that trees and green spaces help mitigate rising temperatures, improve community health and offset carbon emissions.

With extreme heat also comes economic disruption. As we saw in summer 2017, high temperatures can force airlines to cancel flights and cause rolling blackouts – stories that are likely to pop up again in the weeks to come. Disruption can also take a heavy toll on health, especially when asthma cases spike and children end up in hospital emergency rooms.

Our response: help Texas Trees Foundation get the message out to decision makers – through video, television and radio interviews, newspaper articles and blogs and social media. We also planted 40 mature trees at the Dallas Farmers Market, in the heart of the heat island, which another group helped transform a park and walking path. Plans are underway for more plantings throughout Dallas and an expansion of the program across North Texas.

What started as a conversation has blossomed into a movement aimed at making our urban spaces cooler, greener and healthier. And, this is just the beginning. We’re working closely with Texas Trees Foundation on a second phase of this project that bring the data uncovered in the study to life.

To learn more about how Alliance Data operates responsibly, check out our 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report.