Turning the Blue Green?

15 Sep 2011

A green venue?

Kevin has blogged a few times before about the greening of sports and it seems as if there’s a lot going on in this area when new facilities are constructed and also with retrofitting in the south and west.  So, what about here?  Recently, I learned of the U-M Student Sustainability Initiative, which is a collaborative group of campus organizations, environmental groups, and student governments with the goal of making the University of Michigan a more sustainable place.  The SSI works closely with the Graham Environmental Sustainabilty Institute and the U-M Office of Campus Sustainability, to facilitate dialogue aimed at sustainability. 

The SSI made one U-M basketball game a “zero waste” event last year by working with vendors to minimize packaging and promote recycling and composting and has big goals of pursuing a “zero waste” event at the Big House.  In any event, there will be a zero waste alumni tailgate for U-M’s homecoming game later this year.  

This is different than most of the sustainable initiatives in sports that we’ve seen before. Frankly, those have largely been economizing efforts (i.e., generating cheaper solar power) or marketing efforts (showing sustainability to sports fans as consumers).  This is much more of a grass-roots education effort originating from the “customers” – U-M students.

Speaking of sustainability, I learned that U-M built the football stadium expansion with sustainability in mind – a fact that hasn’t received much press.  For example, the expansion includes: 

• Automatic sensors at lavatories to control water flow.

• Tempered water, minimizing the use of hot water.

• Low flow toilet fixtures and waterless urinals.

• No net increase in storm water runoff.

• ENERGY STAR roof for all new roof surfaces.

• Use of regional and local material where possible, (e.g. brick) including materials extracted, harvested and manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site.

• Low-VOC materials, (e.g. adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, and carpet).

• Day lighting provided to all interior spaces thereby reducing the use of electrical lights.

• A conversion of the 8 year old scoreboard from old incandescent bulb components to light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

 It appears that sustainability has arrived in Michigan sports. Let’s see if the pros pick up on it.

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