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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Which Ski Run is Better for the Planet?

Powder
by 

PHOTO: Hank de Vre

PHOTO: Hank de Vre

We’re on a mountain, but at the moment skiing is a distant abstraction. I’m sweating through my shirt and pining for sunscreen, following Jennifer Burt as she leads the way through shoulder-high brush. “In retrospect, maybe I should’ve brought you up the trail,” she says.

We’re at Powder Bowl ski area, north of Lake Tahoe, hiking up the middle of a run—if you could even still call it that. One of dozens of abandoned ski areas scattered around the Tahoe Basin, Powder Bowl closed in 1984. If Burt wasn’t here to tell me, I’d have been hard-pressed to pick out the run from the surrounding forest. But that’s kind of the point. Burt, 40, a restoration ecologist, has been studying how ski slopes regenerate—that is, how they return to their pre-ski-run condition—since 2005, when she was studying for her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis.

Initially, she was broadly interested in the ecology of ski mountains as managed landscapes, but soon she noticed that some ski runs looked markedly different than others. When mountain operators build a new ski run, she discovered, they make a choice that shapes how the mountain will look years, decades, and even centuries later. Industry experts estimate that as many as half of the country’s ski slopes could close in the coming decades, underscoring the importance—and permanence—of this decision. This slope, its edges already fading back into the woods, could be a preview of those future abandoned mountains. Luckily, whoever created it made the right choice, Burt says—they went with the chainsaw instead of the bulldozer.

Read the full story here.

 

 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium Set to Achieve LEED Platinum, an NFL, MLS Stadium First

Environmental Leader
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2017.02.26-NewsFeed-MB Stadium-IMAGE

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Falcon’s new home, is seeking LEED Platinum certification — and is “on target” to achieve this highest level of the green building rating from the US Green Building Council, says Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay.

Once construction is completed this summer, the stadium is is expected to be the first NFL and MLS stadium to achieve LEED Platinum. It will also be the first sports facility to achieve all water credits available for LEED.

The venue’s management has also committed to further restore natural water systems wetlands and damaged watersheds and are pursuing a new LEED Pilot Credit strategy called Water Restoration Certificates (WRC). Through this effort, the stadium will purchase WRCs locally from the Flint River in Georgia’s water supply, providing for a 100 percent regional impact and monetary benefits for the local watershed, the stadium managers say.

Other sustainable building features include:

  • Save 29 percent in energy usage compared to a typical stadium design
  • Has 4,000 solar panels generating around 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year of renewable energy
  • Electric car charging stations
  • Onsite edible landscaping
  • 680,000-gallon cistern used for water recapture and reuse for land irrigation
  • 1 million gallon cooling tower

Read the full story here.

 

 

A Play-By-Play of Super Bowl LI’s Waste Diversion Efforts

By Mallory Szczepanski

2017.02.22-NewsFeed-Super Bowl Waste-IMAGE

Millions of sports fans (and entertainment fans) tuned in to watch Super Bowl LI yesterday, which concluded with the New England Patriots victory over the Atlanta Falcons in a first-ever Super Bowl overtime. And while those fans were busy munching on tasty snacks, drinking refreshing beverages, cheering on their team and catching up with friends and family, the NFL and the staff at NRG Stadium in Houston were working to divert as much waste from landfill as possible.

In preparation for the big game, approximately 150 new recycling bins were placed throughout NRG Stadium, and about a dozen local agencies were recruited by the Houston Food Bank to help capture unserved, surplus food from the stadium.

Additionally, NRG Energy Inc. and its subsidiary Reliant partnered with the NFL to provide 100 percent Green-e certified renewable energy to NRG Stadium for a certain time period before, during and after the big game.

“As the official electricity company of NRG Stadium, we are proud to support the NFL and Houston by powering the largest U.S. sporting event with renewable energy certificates together with the onsite efficiency and renewable energy solutions,” said NRG Vice President of Sustainability Bruno Sarda in a statement. “At NRG, we want fans to benefit from sustainable solutions and together with the NFL, we can demonstrate that even a huge event like the Super Bowl can significantly reduce its energy usage.”

These sustainable efforts by NRG and its partners go hand-in-hand with its everyday goals to divert more material from landfill and to make its venues more sustainable.

Read the full story here.

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