The Greening of Sports.

20 Apr 2010

Giant underground cisterns will collect water below the field for reuse on it. Photo via GreenMark.

I’m a huge sports fan, so I was very interested to learn that two professional sports stadiums recently obtained LEED certification. 

First, the Portland Trail Blazers Rose Garden recently obtained LEED-Gold certification, becoming the first major sports team to earn LEED Gold status for a major league sports facility.  The Trail Blazers’ (no pun intended) sustainability initiatives included: (i) taking recycling measures to ensure that more than 60% of their waste is diverted from local landfills (via strategies such as post-game sorting, extensive recycling stations, and a food-waste composting program); (ii) encouraging visitors to use public transportation (about 30 percent of their fans travel to games by bike, bus or light rail) and subsidizing transit passes for its staff; and (iii) installing energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures. 

Second, the Minnesota Twins’ new ballpark, Target Field, earned the LEED-Silver certification (the Washington Nationals’ ballpark, the only other MLB stadium to achieve green building certification, also has LEED-Silver certification, which was awarded in 2008).  In order to build the park, contaminated soil was treated and replaced. Groundwork included the installation of a giant cistern, which is buried beneath the warning track.  Water collected in the cistern will be filtered and used for irrigation and hosing down the seating bowl. 

These are great examples that even large, complex sporting facilities can be operated in a very sustainable and environmentally conscious manner.  While the Trail Blazers wouldn’t say how much it cost to obtain their LEED-Gold certification, the Twins’ organization claims that the cost to pursue its LEED certification was less than 0.5% of the overall project — an investment they expect will be more than recouped just by savings in energy and other operational costs.  Mr. Ilitch, please take note for the Red Wings’ new arena. 

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