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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Guest Blog | HOK’s Chris DeVolder on the Intersection of Sustainable Design, Resilience and Sports

Guest Interview with Chris DeVolder
HOK

Photo Credit: HOK

Mercedes-Benz Stadium / Photo Credit: HOK

Chris DeVolder, AIA, LEED AP, WELL AP, is the managing principal of HOK’s Kansas City office. As the sustainable design leader for the Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice and co-chair of both the Green Sports Alliance Corporate Membership Network Steering Committee and the USGBC’s LEED User Group for sports venues, he has helped reinvent the industry’s approach to the planning, design, construction and operations of sports venues. Here Chris shares his ideas about designing these community pillars for sustainability and resilience.

How did you get interested in sustainable design?

Chris DeVolder (CD): Twenty years ago I was playing drums in a band made up of Kansas City architects. The lead singer was passionate about sustainability and was working on a sustainably designed residence for a client in his free time. He asked if I’d be interested in helping with his project. That moment changed my career. He gave me a copy of “The Sacred Balance” by David Suzuki that, coupled with his mentorship, fueled my passion for sustainable design.

You have dedicated your career to designing sustainable college and professional sports facilities. How has sustainable design in sports evolved?

CD: Three things were happening when sustainability made a splash on the sports scene. First, jurisdictions and campuses had begun to require LEED certification for new buildings. Second, there was an influx of organic, student-driven movements around campus recycling that athletic departments supported. Third, operators of these massive sports facilities began to look at their rising water and energy consumption and felt motivated to change.

About this time the Green Sports Alliance was founded. At the organization’s first conference in 2010, most presentations were case studies of buildings that had upgraded their water and energy efficiency. We’ve come a long way.

Today’s proactive owners and operators are seeking innovative strategies around community, food and renewable energy. Sustainability was once a completely cost-driven decision for owners and operators. Now there’s also a moral component. Our clients have a better understanding of opportunities to use these facilities to support campuses, neighborhoods and cities.

Why is sustainability in sports so important?

CD: Our stadiums, ballparks and arenas are highly visible buildings that are accessible to the entire community. They provide an incredible opportunity to teach people about sustainable design. The first thing many of us do every morning is check sports headlines and scores. With our unwavering loyalty to teams and universities, sports has a unique platform to communicate sustainability and change behavior.

How does this visibility affect your approach to design?

CD: We encourage clients to think about sustainability as it relates to design, operations and messaging. There are so many potential touchpoints in a one million-square-foot building. Our clients can use their new canvas to communicate messages about energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling and more. I always laugh thinking about the signs in the bathrooms at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia telling fans to “recycle beer here.”

We encourage clients to find strategic partnerships that support their broader sustainability goals. For example, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which achieved LEED Platinum, partnered with Georgia Power to integrate more than 4,000 solar PV panels. Every year they generate enough energy to power nine Atlanta Falcons games and 13 Atlanta United matches.

Read the full interview on HOK’s website.

The 2018 Super Bowl Stadium Offsets 100% Of Its Own Energy

Green Matters
By Brian Spaen

2018.01.30-US Bank Energy Use-IMAGE

Image Source: Green Matters, via Flickr

The home of the Minnesota Vikings will be this year’s host for Super Bowl LII. While the team and fan base have to be disappointed in coming up just one game short of being in the championship game, they should be proud of their new stadium. Why? It offsets 100 percent of its electricity with renewable energy credits and uses a number of energy-efficient technologies. In fact, it’s LEED-Gold Certified.

As a cool aesthetic touch, the stadium’s massive windows and ETFE roof (ethlyene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) provides amazing views of Minneapolis and gives it the feel of still playing outside without the cold weather.

Not only is this the first time ETFE has been used on such a major scale, but a signature design is the Legacy Gate, which has five of the world’s largest glass doors that are from 75 to 95 feet tall. By allowing so much light into the stadium, and with the majority of NFL games played during the day, this cuts out the need for so much artificial lighting.

How is the US Bank Stadium actually offsetting its energy use? 40 percent of the roof that uses zinc cladding provides additional heat in the winter or cooling relief in the summer, and it’s durable enough to withstand harsh winters. Compared to the old Metrodome, US Bank Stadium uses 16 percent less energy and 26 percent less lighting. The latter was achieved by using LED lighting that can turn on and off quickly and can change color. This is handy during pregame or halftime entertainment, or when a different event is happening inside the stadium.

US Bank Stadium is partnering with the NFL during the Super Bowl to recover more than 90 percent of stadium waste that will be generated on Sunday. Called “Rush2Recycle,” this effort hopes to sort recyclables from standard trash, compost food service ware, and will encourage those at the stadium to recycle or compost their garbage.

Read the full story.

Q&A with Bradley Vogel, Sustainability Coordinator, U.S. Bank Stadium

In advance of Super Bowl LII, the Alliance caught up with Bradley Vogel, Sustainability Coordinator at the host venue, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.

Alliance: U.S. Bank Stadium is one of the newest venues in the country.  Why is sustainability so important to your organization, and what are some things we might not know about your sustainability operations?

BV: Sustainability was a key consideration in the design, construction, and operation phases of the life of the stadium. In the Minneapolis/Saint Paul market, there is a large drive from the state and local government to engage in sustainable operations. The stadium partners also understand that we have a large platform to drive positive environmental change, and with events like the X-games, Super Bowl, and the NCAA Final Four, we realize that we have a large opportunity to engage and encourage fans and staff to think more sustainably in their day-to-day lives. The stadium is exploring all options to mitigate its carbon footprint in the following areas: transportation, energy use, water use, and waste management.

Alliance: One element of your sustainability work that stands out is your pursuit of/classification as a zero waste venue?

BV: Yes. Since July 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium has managed to increase its diversion rate from 20% up to 83% at our most recent event, the NFL Vikings/Saints playoff game on January 14, 2018. It is our goal to achieve the zero-waste mark for the Super Bowl, as well as continue to meet that goal for all major events moving forward.

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Alliance: Signage is often a major challenge in getting fans to sort their waste properly.  Have you had any successes in getting/using messaging, signage, or other fan education tools to help promote better waste practices and decrease your contamination rates?

BV: We have partnered with a non-profit called Recycle Across America (RAA) for our waste signage in the facility. This organization aims to implement standardized waste signage nationwide, so when people go to different areas of the country, they can see consistent waste signage that will help minimize confusion. For example, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Airport installed RAA signage, so fans who come to the Super Bowl will see similar signage both at the stadium and at the airport. By partnering with RAA, we hope to continue to educate fans about recycling and composting on a larger scale than just at the stadium. One of our ongoing goals of the operation is to increase and improve the signage and fan communication efforts.

Alliance: Tell us a bit more about your composting program.

BV: Starting in July, with help from our concessionaire Aramark, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Hennepin County, the stadium implemented a compost program aimed at collecting all food waste and compostable materials. As part of the push to go zero-waste, Aramark switched out most of their food vessels that were not compostable or recyclable except for a few items that do not have compostable or recyclable alternatives. On the back end, we perform a post-event waste sort to ensure that compost is contaminant free, and that all recyclables are recycled. Since July 2017, we have collected more than 77 tons of compostable materials.

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Alliance: What should we look forward to from the U.S. Bank Stadium sustainability team in the coming year?

BV: In the following year, the stadium aims to expand its fan engagement piece of the sustainability program, with hopes of creating a knowledgeable fan base that cannot only support our sustainability initiatives, but can also incorporate some into their daily lives. In addition, the stadium will continue to develop its zero-waste program, with the final goal of becoming an industry leader that others will look to for guidance and support.

Thanks to Bradley and the entire U.S. Bank Stadium team for being leaders in the sports greening movement and demonstrating best practices across the sports industry.

To learn more about the sustainability elements of U.S. Bank Stadium go to: usbankstadium.com/stadium-info/sustainability

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