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Greening Up the Sports World

July 19, 2012 - 2:45pm

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By installing a rooftap solar array at Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners is reducing its carbon footprint and saving money. | Photo courtesy of the Green Sports Alliance.

By installing a rooftap solar array at Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners is reducing its carbon footprint and saving money. | Photo courtesy of the Green Sports Alliance.

How could 35 professional sports teams and 20 million square feet of sports facilities improve their energy efficiency and be more environmentally friendly?

That’s the question the Energy Department is answering through its Better Buildings Challenge. In order to illustrate the Department’s strategy for greening professional sports facilities, we are highlighting several green sports initiatives aiming to change the way our nation does athletics.

At a White House event today, the Obama Administration is celebrating the sports industry’s successes in saving energy, reducing waste and adopting sustainable practices at sports facilities as part of the Better Buildings Challenge. The Better Buildings Challenge was created by President Obama to encourage major corporations, universities, and state and local governments to pledge and lead the way to saving energy, money, and showcasing the best energy saving strategies for buildings and their results. Better Buildings has teamed up with the Green Sports Alliance, an organization whose mission is to help sports teams, venues and leagues be more environmentally friendly.

In partnership with Green Sports Alliance, Better Buildings is hitting a home run in helping to green sports facilities for one of America’s favorite pastimes. Here are some highlights of projects from a few of the many baseball teams (some of which began prior to the Alliance):

  • The Los Angeles Staples Center most recently completed a lighting overhaul by replacing over 3,000 halogen fixtures with LEDs, thereby reducing energy consumption by 12 percent and energy costs by over $80,000 per year.
  • Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field has reduced its carbon footprint via the installation of a 32.76-kW rooftop solar array. Since installing 168 solar panels on its elevator canopy of the parking garage and roof of the skybridge last April, the Mariners have been generating electricity for its internal televisions and monitors. The system generates 40,000 kWh of electricity annually. The project also installed high efficiency lighting and EV charging stations for the public.
  • St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium installed 106 new solar panels on its home turf last April, producing 37,000 kWh of electricity annually since last April.

The Department’s Better Buildings Challenge and Alliance aims to reduce the energy use of its member facilities by at least 20 percent by 2020 in aggregate. 

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