Houston’s NRG Stadium
The Houston Texans and NRG Stadium, home to this year’s Super Bowl, feature a number of green initiatives ranging from motion detectors to electric transportation. Here are some highlights:
- The Texans introduced the NFL’s first interactive media guide, which has eliminated the printing of more than 2.6 million pages.
- The stadium supports a year-round paper-recycling program.
- Every Texans touchdown scored during a home game means one more tree planted in the greater Houston area.
We are happy to see that green building principles have expanded further into the world of sports and sports venues. For a perfect example, look no further than Levi’s Stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, CA. This two-year-old stadium is the host of Super Bowl 50 this week, and host to some pretty cool green technology.
Levi’s Stadium is the first of its kind to receive LEED Gold certification as new construction. It’s fitting that this accomplishment belongs to California, the 7th ranking state for LEED in the United States for the second year in a row. The stadium’s recycled rainwater is used to irrigate the playing field, an important decision in a state that has suffered from such a great drought recently. The LEED BD+C Rating System awards points to projects that are designed to reduce demand for water from the municipal system. More than 25,000 square feet of green roof tops the iconic Suite Tower. Plants were selected for drought tolerance with 40 different species of local vegetation, including 20 species that will support the venue’s concessions.
Keeping the grass green is important, but you’ve got to keep the lights on as well. There are 20,000 square feet of solar panels around the stadium roof and pedestrian walkways. Because there are only 10 home games each year for the 49ers (including pre-season), the stadium is designed to be completely powered by the year-round collection of solar energy, achieving a net zero energy performance for game days. Those panels do not get a single day off! Visitors to Levi’s Stadium may also view a live dashboard which displays current energy, water, and air measurements at the facility.
Aside from the green technology inside the stadium, serious thought went into the stadium’s site as well. This stadium is strategically built in a location that required zero additional parking spaces. Parking lots at a nearby theme park and local colleges, and a bicycle valet service to and from the game, have helped save money and preserve precious land. Levi’s Stadium is also located within walking distance of four major public transit lines. Easy access to public transit options is another strategy than can earn points under the LEED BD+C Rating System.
The owners, as well as the people of Santa Clara, seem to be getting rewarded for their efforts. Levi’s Stadium is not only hosting this year’s Super Bowl, it will also be the location of the 2019 College football national championship game. It pays to be green in sports.
As for our pick for the big game – Colorado has quite a lead in LEED, step it up Carolina!