Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greening the Gridiron - NFL teams go green

Ahhhh. It’s that time of year again. Big, brawny men in form fitting clothes, flexing and straining their muscles as they take to the turf with only one thing in mind. Scoring!!! That’s right. I’m talking about FOOTBALL!!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that the 2011 NFL Season officially began on Thursday, September 8th, and for the next few months, football will be the only thing on the minds and out of the mouths of many men, women AND children.

If you are more into gardening than the gridiron, but still want to be able to join in the football season conversations, here are some fun “green” facts about eco-friendly stadiums and teams to toss around:

 Washington Redskins and FedEx Field 
FedEX Field is the site for a game on Sunday, September 18th at 1pm(ET) between the Washington Redskins (go Redskins!) and the Arizona Cardinals, so you can share this fact over your chicken wings and pitchers of beers. See official NFL Schedule for more dates.

FedEx field is installing 8,000 translucent solar panels to cover 850 parking spaces in one of their parking lots. In addition to generating enough energy to run the entire stadium on non-game days, the panels will help protect tail-gaiting fans on those rainy game days. The project will also bring in 10 electric vehicle charging stations. Even the art will generate electricity, with several sculptures featuring thin solar film technology. And, of course, there will be a plaza featuring renewable energy and clean energy technologies for those fans interested in joining the Redskins as they move toward a clean energy future. (Source)

 Another game for this Sunday’s lineup is at MetLife Stadium, which has “set a new industry precedent for green initiatives". Check ‘em out this Sunday at 1pm(ET) as the Jacksonville Jaguars meet the New York Jets

MetLife Stadium, (Formerly New Meadowlands Stadium), Shared by the New York Giants and Jets
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consulted on this stadium, and the EPA and the teams committed to cutting the stadium’s annual water use by 25% and increasing total recycling by 25%. There are seats made of partially recycled plastic and scrap iron and public transit options for fans. The Stadium’s actions have resulted in the reduction of energy, water and solid waste production across its entire operations, including the use of aggressive recycling programs, low flow faucets, toilets and urinals in rest rooms, food composting, and mass transit alternatives. Most notable of their efforts, due to their collective, widespread efforts, the Stadium has reduced its carbon footprint by 268,828 MTCO2e (Metric Ton Carbon Dioxide Equivalent), the largest carbon footprint reduction to date, an amount equivalent to almost 53,000 automobiles. (Source)
 Next weekend, you can check out Lincoln Financial Field and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, September 25th at 1pm(ET) when the NY Giants take on the Eagles

Lincoln Financial Field, Home of the Philadelphia Eagles 
The SportsBusiness Journal called the Philadelphia Eagles Go Green initiative "the most comprehensive greening effort of any major sports team." Since launching Go Green in 2003, the Eagles have recycled thousands of tons of waste; greened their entire supply chain; and created Eagles Forest, a 6.5 acre area in Neshaminy State Park, PA where the Eagles have funded the purchase of more than 4,000 trees and shrubs.

The Eagles’ GO GREEN campaign includes tickets and programs that are printed on recycled paper and beverage cups that are made from a corn-based material and disintegrate entirely in just fifty days. The same material is used for the plastic dishes the players are served on, and the facility uses clean energy in the team area. This NFL Season, the Eagles are installing an array of systems to deliver 100 percent of the stadium's energy—2,500 solar panels, 80 vertical wind turbines, and a generation plant that can run on biodiesel or natural gas. The resources are expected to generate more than 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over 20 years, with enough excess to spare to sell back to the local utility. SolarBlue estimates that the savings from this energy are comparable to the emissions of 41,000 cars per year. (Source)

 Catch the game Sunday, September 25th – 4:15pm – Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals at Century Link Field  

Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks
The CenturyLink Event Center solar array takes advantage of the facility’s new white “cool roof” which conserves energy by reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the roof surface and lowering the need for building cooling. The system covers over 2.5 acres, or approximately 80% of the Event Center roof. CenturyLink Event Center's solar panels are projected to generate over 830,000 kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of powering 95 Seattle area homes for a year.

 On Monday, September 26th at 8:30pm(ET), you can check out the buns (on the hotdogs, of course) as the Dallas Cowboy players and cheerleaders battle the Washington Redskins at the stadium that has been called one of the most beautiful eco-friendly stadiums in the world.

Cowboys Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. When building the stadium, they restored a flood-prone creek outside the stadium, complete with native grasses, trees and trails, designed in part to help create an atmosphere where fans were less tied to their cars. Other features of Cowboys Stadium include: Reduction of solid waste by 25%; Energy use reduction of 20%; Recycled plastic seats; Reduction of water use by 1 million gallons ; 90% of the old stadium construction waste recycled; 30 acres of grass parking to reduce toxic runoff into nearby waterways; Highly efficient LED display (world's largest); Use of native plants and trees (Source – Our Daily Green)

 You’ll have to wait until October 2 at 4:05pm(ET) to see how the University of Phoenix tries to offset 100% of their energy during game days.  

University of Phoenix, home of the Cardinals
In 2010, the Arizona Cardinals’s University of Phoenix Stadium used EarthWise Energy program to provide more than 1 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy during eight regular season home games and two pre-season ones.The renewable energy will offset electricity used in University of Phoenix Stadium -- from the concession stands to the parking lot lighting to the scoreboards. This amount of electricity, 1,135,000 kilowatt-hours over the course of 10 games, is comparable to what 60 average homes in the Valley will use annually.

I could keep going. There are 32 teams in the NFL and I was able to find green initiatives for many of them. Including:

San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium
The team has been recycling for eighteen years and regularly donates its sod to local YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Tailgating? No problem. There are 350 ninety-four gallon recycling bins in the tailgating area so there’s no excuse to not use them!  

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: The Patriots installed 2,800 solar panels at Gillette Stadium in December to help power the stadium, and they put in solar-powered compactors to collect and recycle cans and bottles around the stadium.

DENVER BRONCOS: The Broncos have purchased renewable energy to offset 100 percent of the electricity used at Sports Authority Field for the 2011 season. And after implementing an energy management program, the team cut energy use at the stadium by 11 percent.  

HOUSTON TEXANS: The Texans introduced the NFL’s first interactive media guide in 2009, putting the guide on USB sticks instead of printing books. The change saved an estimated 2.6 million printed pages that year, and the team has continued this practice.

But there are too many teams and everyone has a favorite. To find out what green efforts your team is making, visit: NFL Green and Green Sports Alliance

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