Green sports stadiums growing in US

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Venue operators in the US have been slowly adopting sustainable practices over the last few decades, from recycling programs to energy efficiency efforts.

However, several major sports facilities across the country have taken this to another level in recent years, reported CNBC recently.

And the venue operators and owners hope the success seen across multiple fronts creates real momentum around the idea of environmentally friendly stadiums.

The Mercedes Benz Stadium is home to both the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United. It became the first pro sports venue in the US to achieve LEED Platinum Certification in 2017. 

Footprint Center, home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, works directly with the materials science company that holds its naming rights to eliminate single-use plastic from the arena and on other sustainable practices.

The bar was set even higher in 2021 when the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle opened. It not only became the first net zero certified arena in the world but served as a call-to-action for Amazon’s push for companies globally to be net zero carbon by 2040.

“Venue operators are relatively quickly understanding their opportunities and their responsibilities as it related to operating more sustainability,” said Chris Granger, the chief executive officer of OVG360, as quoted by CNBC.

OVG30 is a management company that works with over 300 venues across the world.

“Sports teams and venues have a platform on the topic of social change, and we have the ability to shine a light on issues that matter in a way that many businesses don’t,” he said. “I think our venue operators are saying ‘Okay, we get it. Now what do we do about it?’”

When work to renovate KeyArena in Seattle began, there were many discussions on how to introduce sustainability measures not only for construction goals but also operational goals. That quickly evolved into making an arena that could be a “beacon of a sustainability district,” which helped attract the attention of Amazon, who in 2019 co-founded the Climate Pledge initiative to have companies, organizations, and partners work together to address the climate crisis and solve the challenges around decarbonizing.

That led to what has become the Climate Pledge Arena. Its efforts include being zero-waste by using compostable containers and reducing single-use plastic use, conserving water by retaining rainwater for reuse, and not using fossil fuels in the arena for daily use – including electric-powered Zambonis for games.

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