Reducing costs, enhancing the fan experience, attracting environmentally minded sponsors – these are just some of the reasons why sports stadiums around the country are focusing on sustainable practices and operations. Greening sports facilities is uniquely challenging, however. “They get a massive influx of people in a short period of time, and then they sit vacant for days,” explains Steve D’Iorio, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle in Washington, D.C.

BUILDINGS recently highlighted stadiums that successfully made the leap to the greener side. See below for some of the changes at these landmark facilities:

  • M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore: The Baltimore Ravens’ stadium reduced energy usage by 5 million kWh between 2005 and 2012 using ENERGY STAR® The stadium was the first existing outdoor professional sports facility in the U.S. to achieve LEED® Gold certification.
  • Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California: The home to the San Francisco 49ers generates its energy via three solar-paneled pedestrian bridges and one solar-paneled roof deck. The stadium installed controllable and programmable lighting and thermal comfort control systems for improved energy efficiency.
  • Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia: 11,000 solar panels and 14 wind turbines allow the Philadelphia Eagles’ stadium to generate almost all of its electricity on-site. Energy programs and management systems have reduced consumption by more than 33 percent.
  • Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington: The Seattle Mariners ballpark reduced natural gas use by 60 percent, electricity by 30 percent and water by 25 percent by upgrading the stadium’s lighting and mechanical systems. Side note: The MLB team also co-founded the Green Sports Alliance.
  • AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami: A building automation system monitors and controls the facility’s HVAC operations for strategic energy usage. Energy efficiency initiatives enable the Miami Heat’s arena to consume 53 percent less energy than comparable facilities.
  • STAPLES Center, Los Angeles: The home to the LA Lakers features a 1,727-panel solar array that provides up to 20 percent of the energy used, contributing $55,000 in savings per year. A variable-speed HVAC system increases the arena’s energy efficiency.

A building’s sustainability can be improved easily with “better discipline about turning things off when they’re not being used,” says Scott Jenkins, general manager of the Atlanta Falcons stadium and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance.

We agree. Controlling the facility’s mechanical systems can significantly reduce costs and conserve energy, benefitting both stadium owners and the environment. Innovative cooling and heating technology, like our Variable Refrigerant Flow zoning systems, allow facility managers to monitor and control exactly where and when energy is being used. Management can turn off units in unoccupied areas of the stadium during the week and easily turn them back on for game days to minimize energy use. VRF systems also maximize comfort. The three-level press box at the University of Notre Dame’s football stadium used to soar over 90 degrees Fahrenheit during early season games. Now, with our Y-Series VRF zoning system, the space maintains a cool and comfortable temperature.

To read more on how stadiums are reducing their environmental footprints, click here.