Monthly Archives: May 2015

NASCAR Takes Steps to Improve Sustainability

In recent years, NASCAR has taken steps to reduce the carbon footprint of a sport that relies on gas-burning cars while embracing sustainability throughout its organization. From improvements in fuel mixtures to innovative speedway designs to engaging and educating fans, NASCAR is bringing green initiatives to motorsports.

A pit crew member rolls containers of ethanol-blended fuel toward the racetrack. Photo credit: WFAE & Michael Tomsic

A pit crew member rolls containers of ethanol-blended fuel toward the racetrack.
Photo credit: WFAE & Michael Tomsic

Thousands of solar panels have been installed at tracks around the country, mitigating dependence on traditional sources of electric power. Other tracks have begun utilizing geothermal energy to manage air conditioning systems at their tracks. Beyond the speedways on its circuits, NASCAR has also planted over 370,000 trees to help improve air quality.

In 2011, NASCAR also began to mandate the use of a 15-percent ethanol blend in its stock cars. Initially contested by some drivers, teams, and fans, the switch has reduced emissions by 20 percent without affecting performance. “It feels like home. It just seems like we’ve been using it for years and years and years,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said about the fuel blend. “We used to have concerns about how it would perform, and it’s an afterthought at this point as to how it affects performance.”

Moving forward, NASCAR continues to seek ways to further reduce its environmental impacts while using its platform to spread the message. “The more that we can demonstrate the impacts that we can have to improve and reduce our carbon emissions – any part we can do, we think that’s important,” said NASCAR chief operating officer Brent Dewar.


Read the full article here.

Green Sports Alliance Members Take Home Honors at 2015 Sports Business Awards

Last week, several Green Sports Alliance members won awards at the 2015 Sports Business Awards, held in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. In addition to bestowing a lifetime achievement award on longtime NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, the ceremony honored leagues, media, teams, venues, events, and affiliated sports industries at the annual affair.

The NBA had one of the strongest showings of the evening, winning the Sports League of the Year award, and seeing Commissioner Adam Silver named the Sports Executive of the Year. Over the past year, the NBA has demonstrated the compatibility of sustainability and economic vitality. In addition to the work of its franchises, 13 of whom are also Green Sports Alliance members, the NBA held its seventh annual Green Week in late March and continues to promote green practices both internally for its teams and venues as well as externally to its broad global fan base.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown

Levi’s Stadium, which received the award for Sports Facility of the Year, has also demonstrated an aggressive commitment to maximizing its environmental performance. The stadium was designed to meet LEED Gold standards, and includes an innovative recycled water system that irrigates the playing field, provides all water for toilets, and also provides water for a 27,000 square foot green roof. Levi’s Stadium is home to the San Francisco 49ers.

The Los Angeles Kings, winners of the 2014 Stanley Cup, were named the Sports Team of the Year. Among their biggest sustainability projects was the installation, in partnership with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, of an LED lighting system that reduces energy costs at the STAPLES Center by an estimated $280,000 annually.

Read more about the 2015 Sports Business Awards here.

Green Sports Alliance Featured in gb&d Magazine

In a recent Green Building & Design (gb&d) article, writer Brian Barth highlights the Green Sports Alliance and its impact on the growth of sustainable practices at sports venues around the United States and the world. The article details the organization’s rise from its Pacific Northwest origins to incorporate nearly 300 teams across 20 leagues in 14 different countries. In revealing this growth Barth illuminates the various ways in which sports, according to Green Sports Alliance president Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, can “leverage the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities.”

The article focuses on the three main avenues of sustainable practices promoted by the Green Sports Alliance and its member organizations. First is the importance of tracking energy and water use and waste generation. Barth uses the example of the Seattle Mariners, who have used the data collected over the past decade of sustainability tracking to push closer to their zero-waste goals. In this way, the Mariners provide a concrete example of the efficacy of tracking to accomplish greening goals.

The second shift in practices that has resulted from a redoubled focus on sustainability is venue design. As the article illustrates, teams in the MLB, MLS, the NHL, the NFL, and other member leagues have used their relationship with the Green Sports Alliance to work toward creating more efficient, lower-impact stadiums and arenas—both in terms of new stadium construction as well as retrofitted renovations that reduce the impacts of building operations.

Finally, Barth highlights the fact that sustainable practices do not require large infusions of capital to be put into motion. Looking at another Green Sports Alliance member, the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Barth shows how the home of the University of Louisville Cardinals basketball teams was able to reduce water and energy use and divert waste from landfills without an expansive budget.

“Every sports team is part of the cultural fabric of its community,” said Scott Jenkins, chairman of the Green Sports Alliance, “so we have a social responsibility that teams activate in a number of ways—it hasn’t traditionally been around climate and the environment, but it has been around education, around health, around the community. It’s hard not to make the connection [with sustainability] once you sit back and think about it.”


Read the full article here.

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