Sports and sustainability are quickly merging as a movement takes shape to make athletic facilities and their operations greener. Already, many teams are working to increase sustainability efforts by implementing energy efficient solutions, and conducting related special events and game day giveaways.
In August, more than 200 team representatives and industry experts gathered in Portland, Ore., for the first ever Green Sports Summit. The summit emphasized that operating a stadium sustainably is a “team” effort, while the overwhelming theme was to influence partner organizations, customers, sponsors and industry peers through innovative sustainable initiatives and facilities management.
As with most sustainability initiatives, achieving operational energy efficiency is an absolute necessity. Due to the event-driven nature of sports facility operations, special challenges are presented that are further compounded by considerations to lighting, concessions, cleaning and the massive amounts of consumable materials purchased.
Even with these challenges, stadiums and arenas do provide an opportunity that is truly unique and the perfect platforms to engage the millions of loyal fans who visit every year. Dr. Allen Hershkowitz of the NRDC notes:
Although only 18 percent of all people are aware of the science related to sustainability, 56 percent of people pay attention to sports.