Sustainability Dream Team Releases Sports Venue Survey

By Kevin Pink, Customer Service & Marketing Assistant

The American sports world is pretty busy right now. Major League Baseball is barreling down the stretch toward the playoffs, and the NFL has just kicked off another season; the NHL and NBA begin their preseasons in a few weeks. Amongst all the talk of teams and trades, there’s some exciting news about another important part of the sports world: the sustainability efforts of the venues our favorite teams call home!

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American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, earned LEED certification in 2009.

Since March, the Department of Energy (DOE), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Green Sports Alliance (GSA), and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have been working together to help understand the way sports venues use energy and water, and discover opportunities to promote more sustainable use.

Last week, this group of organizations announced the Survey on Energy and Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas. The survey is a  way for stadium owners to provide information about how their facilities utilize energy and water. It’s a great way to collate data about opportunities for savings of these resources, but it can also be used as the basis for a scoring system to compare sustainability across sports venues.

This isn’t the first instance of sports venues working toward reducing their environmental footprints. According to the United States Green Building Council, there are at least 30 LEED-certified sports facilities either presently in operation or under construction.

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Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, earned LEED certification in 2010.

The following teams currently play or soon will be playing in LEED-certified facilities:

In addition, several other teams have implemented sustainability measures including waste reduction, efficient lighting measures, food donation, and use of renewable energy. The EPA has a summary of several teams’ efforts.

However, this is the first time an all-star lineup of organizations like the DOE, EPA, GSA and NIBS has been assembled to identify and promote sustainability efforts on a major league scale. For more than twenty years, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program has helped consumers identify the most energy-efficient options in appliances, homes, and buildings in America. Using the data from the Survey on Energy and Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas as a baseline, a system like ENERGY STAR can be developed to compare venues’ sustainability plans.

When even the venues are challenging each other, we’re seeing athletics rise to a new level of competition. The best news of all is that when stadiums compete on sustainability, it’s a win for everybody!

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