According to ESPN, 34,511,518 people attended NFL games during the 2017 regular season. Fans flocked to arenas and stadiums nationwide wearing their team colors to enjoy the spectacle we call football. In order to keep the seats full of loyal fans and attract corporate sponsorships of luxury suites, team owners are spending billions of dollars on beautifully designed modern facilities. These trophy facilities are full of the latest technology and amenities to set them apart from the competition. With the escalating costs, it is essential to NFL team owners to embrace sustainable design and practices to keep operating expenses down.
This year, the big game is a competition between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. Both teams represent storied franchises with a history of success. Although the event is hosted at the new U.S. Bank stadium in Minnesota, both teams have impressive facilities back home. Take a look at the sustainability features available in both home stadiums and determine if one outshines the other.
U.S. Bank Stadium
According to the U.S. Bank Stadium website, the facility aims to become a zero-waste stadium. Their long-term goal is to make 90% of all waste compostable or recyclable. U.S. Bank was also the first NFL stadium built with LED sports lighting, consuming 75% less electricity than traditional stadium lighting.
More fast facts:
- U.S. Bank Stadium uses low flow fixtures throughout stadium restrooms in order to minimize the amount of water used in each flush
- First stadium to receive a Bike Friendly Business certification, has over 180 bike racks.
- In one year, the stadium recycled more than 135 tons of waste, about 20 African elephants
- From August 2016 to August 2017, paper consumption dropped 68%, about 80,000 sheets of paper
- 30% of Vikings fans take the light rail line to games, limiting gas usage
The Patriots are committed to sustainable design as well. Gillette Stadium boats an onsite 1.5 MW solar facility providing clean power to the neighboring outdoor shopping and dining center known as Patriot Place. According to Patriot Place, the sports venue uses Big Belly Solar Compactors, the world’s first on-site solar powered, trash receptacles that reduce electricity consumption and waste volume.
Other facts include:
- White roofs on all buildings facilitate Heat Island Reduction. Roofing has a high Solar Reflectance Index
- Water reuse in toilets throughout facility
- Use of low emitting materials (adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpet systems, composite woods, laminate adhesives, furniture, seating)
- Public transportation and bike racks to limit fuel use
- In 2014, Patriot Place conserved 2,822,978kW of electricity, enough electricity to power 235 houses for 12 months
Lincoln Financial Field
According to the Eagle’s website, the whole franchise is committed to making a more sustainable environment. The Eagles recycle more than 85 tons of material and waste each year. They have also planted 568 trees annually since 2007 in order to offset team travel. Lastly, the Eagles are partnered with NRG, a leading energy company. NRG is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the solar and wind power system at Lincoln Financial Field.
More interesting facts:
- Sun and wind power 100% of team operations
- There are 11,108 solar panels at Lincoln Financial Field
- The stadium has a bio-digester which decomposes pre-consumer food waste and can handle up to 330 pounds daily
- The cleaning team at Lincoln Financial uses green cleaning products by mixing salt, tap water and electricity to produce cleaning solutions without chemicals
Sustainable stadium design contributes to the bottom line for team owners. This trend is evidence that the NFL is embracing sustainability ideals because it makes great business sense. Estimates project annual savings over $100 million due to the implementation of sustainable principles. These facilities are great models for the fans that support them and the communities they represent. We will leave the Super Bowl predictions up to you, however which organization would your crown the Super Bowl of Sustainability champ?