When the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots kick off Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, they will do so under the LED lights of Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Built in 2018, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of several efficient stadiums in the NFL recognized for its sustainable infrastructure.
For our football and clean energy enthusiasts, we have compiled a short list of the league’s most efficient arenas:
Home to this year’s Super Bowl, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opened in August 2017 and hosts the Atlanta Falcons. The stadium has become the first professional sports stadium to achieve LEED Platinum in the United States—the highest sustainability certification awarded by the U.S Green Building Council. By optimizing LED lighting, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and building control systems, this energy-efficient hub saves 29% in energy usage when compared to a typical stadium design.
Opened in summer of 2016 for the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium played home for last year’s Super Bowl. It also exhibits some of the industry’s most innovative and sustainable design elements. The facility’s most noteworthy design feature is the building’s transparent roof, made with ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene). The material allows natural sunlight to flow into the stadium, ultimately lowering the costs to warm and light the stadium. Adding on, the U.S. Bank Stadium lights its turf with LED lights, which reduce energy costs by 37%. With its sustainability efforts, the stadium achieved LEED Gold certification. In 2018, it earned recognition as one of the Green Sports Alliance’s Innovators of the Year.
It is no surprise that many of the NFL’s most efficient stadiums are also its newest. Levi’s Stadium, opened by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, is the first professional football stadium to receive LEED Gold certification for its efficient use of resources. Not only does Levi’s Stadium minimize waste with LED lights and solar panels, but the stadium also reduces water consumption, waste production, and commuting distance.
CenturyLink Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks, is another stadium recognized for its sustainable efforts. After receiving an energy efficiency assessment, the stadium implemented upgrades with incentives from Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. Some upgrades included were high-efficiency lighting and the addition of 3,750 solar panels. The upgrade reduced energy costs by 21% and now generates 830,000 kilowatt-hours of annual energy—enough energy to power 95 Seattle-area homes for a year.
Before these new stadiums, Lincoln Financial Field consistently ranked among the league’s most efficient arenas. Home field for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Linc has gradually become more energy efficiency since construction finished in 2003. The stadium received LEED Gold Certification and became the first pro sports site to achieve ISO 20121 certification. With the installation of 2,500 solar panels and 80 wind turbines in 2010, Lincoln Financial Field became the first stadium capable of generating enough electricity to meet its daily power needs. In 2019, the stadium is now equipped with 11,000 solar panels and 14 wind turbines and has produced enough power in its lifetime to power 77,438 computers per year.
A few other stadiums deserve an honorable mention for their clean energy initiatives. Met Life Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, is twice as large as its predecessor (Giants Stadium) but uses 30% less energy. Chicago’s Soldier Field is the NFL’s oldest stadium but by using efficient technologies earned LEED Silver certification. Home of New England’s 5-time Super Bowl Champs, Gillette Stadium reduces summer air conditioning needs with white painted roofs. In addition, the stadium has also taken advantage of utility incentives to complete energy-efficient upgrades, which include new motion sensors in office areas and high-performing LEDs in the parking lot.
NFL owners run their teams like businesses. Energy efficiency measures are great ways to offset the heavy carbon footprint of immense structures like football stadiums. They are also a rewarding financial investment. Just like the NFL’s businesses can benefit from huge energy efficiency projects in their buildings, so too can small businesses benefit from similar projects at a much more manageable scale. To receive an upgrade similar to those you see on football Sundays, contact Lime Energy for a free energy efficiency estimate.