NHL teams use 321 million gallons of water a year, equating to 16.5 gallons per fan in attendance. In Dallas, the Cowboys Stadium consumes up to 10 megawatts of electricity during a game, more energy than the entire nation of Liberia can generate on a typical day.
The average sports stadium creates so much waste, both in terms of energy and trash, that many stadium and franchise owners are looking for new ways to green-up their sports teams.
One example comes from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Every game sees Giants fans throwing away 4,000 pounds of peanut shells. But thanks to the park’s extensive composting program, all 162,000 pounds of peanut shells discarded every year are diverted from the landfill and used to make fertilizer instead.
In the Midwest, the Cleveland Browns have adopted a similar program for diverting some 35 tons of food waste from First Energy Stadium. However, instead of composting the leftovers, the Browns hand the scraps over to a local company called Quasar Energy Group that uses a process called anaerobic digestion to turn the waste into fertilizer and electricity.
On the energy side, Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, utilizes 11,000 solar panels and 14 micro wind turbines to generate 3 megawatts of electricity: four times more power than the stadium consumes in a single season’s worth of home games.
Now, greenifying your sports stadium for the benefit of the environment is all well and good. But in order to get your organization on board you need to be able to point to some direct benefits. For starters, enhanced sustainability is a great way to generate positive press. Sportswriters and local media love reporting on new green sport initiatives, and the general public is always in favor of reducing waste and using cleaner energy.
If publicity isn’t enough to get the key players on board, then the potential cost savings of using renewables might do the trick. Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, currently meets 60 percent of its energy needs through a relatively small solar canopy installation that spans over an adjacent shopping and dining center. The complex can potentially halve its electricity costs through solar alone, an impressive feat for a stadium with a 6,800 square foot jumbotron.
The process of greenifying your stadium will take time, but with careful planning and the right partners, you’ll be able to cut costs, reduce waste and lower your stadium’s impact on the environment in one fell swoop. Now, huddle up and get to work.