Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Solar Energy and other NFL Sustainability Initiatives

The NFL leads all professional sports in its adoption of solar energy. The two teams that competed in Super Bowl XLIX are no exception. Both the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots employ solar power at their home stadiums. This has prompting some to call the 2015 match-up, the "Solar Super Bowl."

The Seahawks Century Link Field and the Patriots Gillette Stadium rank fifth and sixth respectively among all sports franchises in installed solar capacity. Together these two stadiums have a solar capacity of 1,800 kilowatts (kW).

"Since the construction of Gillette Stadium, we have focused on long-term sustainability and energy efficiency as we try to not only be good corporate citizens, but leave behind a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren," said Jim Nolan, New England Patriots senior vice president of operations, finance and administration. "We are proud of our renewable energy efforts and happy to see so many other sports franchises taking similar steps to collectively reduce our environmental impact."

Century Link Field gets almost one third of its electricity from solar. The increasing reliance on solar energy is not unique to the teams that competed in this year's Super Bowl. One third of all American football stadiums have solar panels. The leading NFL stadiums belong to the Washington Redskins which ranks second in the league with 2,000 (kW) of installed capacity. By far the leading team is the Philadelphia Eagles with a total of 3,000 (kW).

"Our commitment to sustainability began in 2003 with the opening of Lincoln Financial Field," said Eagles President Don Smolenski. "What started with a blue bin under each employee’s desk has grown into our company-wide Go Green initiative that encompasses energy efficiency, recycling, composting, green purchasing, reforestation and more. Through our partnership with NRG, we are now able to produce clean energy on site after installing more than 11,000 solar panels and 14 wind turbines. We are fortunate to have a platform that allows us to lead by example and reduce our environmental impact and we are supportive of all the other venues and organizations doing the same."

In addition to generating good PR, solar is also good business. Like other sports organizations, football teams are turning to solar because it is both cost effective and environmentally responsible.

"The San Francisco Giants recognize that innovation and sustainability go hand-in-hand from our solar initiatives to our recycling and water conservation programs. Sustainability is one of the ways that we can be innovative as a business," said Alfonso Felder, Giants Senior Vice President of Administration.

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