While it has received only limited news coverage, many major sports teams and sports venues in the United States are getting Greener and more sustainable, according to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and a board member with the Green Sports Alliance.*
For instance, the Cleveland Browns football team is testing the use of an anaerobic digester as a way to divert waste from its home field, FirstEnergy Stadium, and turn it into energy.
“Anaerobic digesters have been used in the past to turn [dairy] cow manure into methane which can be used to produce electricity,” says Ashkin. “If these tests pan out, it’s possible the Browns will produce enough electricity to power several homes for several years.”
Ashkin adds this is just one example of how teams, stadiums, and other sports facilities are becoming Greener and more sustainable. Other examples he offers are the following:
- MetLife Stadium in New Jersey has 1,350 solar panels installed to power its LED light displays.
- MetLife Stadium is also converting all waste oil to biodiesel fuel and donating leftover food, food scraps, mounds of paper products left after games, as well as glass and plastic to recycling centers.
- The Seattle Seahawks have installed the largest solar energy system in the state of Washington on their CenturyLink Field.
- The Portland Trail Blazers have cut fuel emissions at their Moda Center by 50 percent since 2008 and saved $3.3 million in utility costs in five years.
- In a relatively short time, the Philadelphia Eagles have diverted three million pounds of waste ending up in landfills and taken measures to reduce electricity…enough to power more than 7,000 homes.
“It is really quite amazing what is happening behind the scenes,” says Ashkin. “[And] it is important for this information to come out. The sports industry in the U.S. is huge, and when fans see what their teams and venues are doing to Green their operations, it encourages them to follow suit.”
*The Green Sports Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent over 230 professional and collegiate sports teams and venues from 16 different leagues. Find out more at www.greensportsalliance.org.