Stadiums Aim for Greener Architecture


The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the few football stadiums in the world with retractable roofs.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. It is one of the few football stadiums in the world with retractable roofs.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the few football stadiums in the world with retractable roofs. The final phase of the construction of its roof started this past week. The stadium, located in the home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL), and the Atlanta United FC of the Major League Soccer (MLS), holds the record of the world’s largest halo board.

The unique roof, once completed, will give officials the option to open and close the roof in as quickly as 12 minutes. During this final phase, construction activities will require the roof to be open in a locked position for 10 days to complete elements of the automation process.

The nine-month-old, $1.6-billion stadium has a 20-foot-high gray concrete box underneath an overpass that can hold up to 680,000 gallons of rainwater, collected mostly from the roof of the enormous stadium. The cistern is one of the environmental centerpieces of the building. It is used to irrigate the vegetation around the building, and by storing much of it, flooding will be reduced in the nearby neighborhood. In other words, the 120-foot-long cistern saves money and helps the surrounding area.

The United States Green Building Council, which grades sustainable design and energy efficiency, has bestowed the stadium with the leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) platinum certification — the first stadium to win it. The agency gives points to builders based on features like efficient lighting, air-conditioning and water fixtures. Builders also earn points for locating their structures near public transportation, and for using locally-sourced and recycled materials.

The stadium secured 88 of a potential 110 points, more than enough to receive the top LEED ranking. It’s no surprise that sports arenas and stadiums have a far smaller carbon footprint than many factories, shopping malls, or office buildings. Even though they host thousands of people for big events, most days, they are used for short durations. And in recent years, these centres have become showcases for green design.

Though critics may argue that leagues are wrapping themselves in eco-friendly banners to help market their sports, team owners have learned that environmentally-friendly arenas are cheaper to operate.

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Food Industry Leaders in Seattle Share Best Practices in Getting Extra Food to the Hungry

By John Nicely, KIRO 7

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SEATTLE – Seattle restaurants and food recovery organizations are leading the charge to prevent food waste and to give that extra food to those who need it most.  About 100 food industry leaders met at CenturyLink Field Thursday to share what’s working and learn from each other.

The Environmental Protection Agency organized the event and laid out these sobering statistics: 40% of food goes uneaten, 97% of food waste ends up in a landfill, 1 in 5 households in Washington are food insufficient.

“It’s always been that area of caution because of food safety issues,” he said. “The easy part of it is we’re already preparing the food. What comes out of that is the challenge is to take care of it in a proper way with the timing, making sure it gets cold fast enough.”

Justin Zeulner, who is with the Green Sports Alliance and works with sports stadiums, shared how the efforts from sports teams impact the thousands of fans.

“The fan enters this facility, they see the food is being prepared here local and organic, and they see the food is being composted,” he told KIRO7.  “And all of a sudden they say I’m inspired, I can do this, too.”

The Pacific Northwest has always been a leader on this issue. For example, the Green Sports Alliance started here in 2011 with six teams, including the Seahawks and Sounders. Now they have more than 600 members worldwide, including all major sports leagues.

Operation Sack Lunch, or OSL, is an organization that takes extra food from restaurants and prepares it for 15 downtown emergency shelters, food banks and other organizations.

“Each of our kitchens is sort of like the show ‘Chopped,’” Taran Graham, of OSL, told KIRO 7.  “A restaurant would contact us and say alright we just did an event and have this leftover food. So the first questions I ask are food was always at temperature control, cooled properly, heated properly, packaged and ready to go, labeled properly.”

Many participants on Thursday talked about how much technology and new apps they’ve created have helped fuel the movement.

“Really,” Zeulner said, “this is a movement that’s growing at a really rapid rate.”

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Green Sports Alliance Update 2018

By Marsha W. Johnston, BioCycle

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As the Green Sports Alliance (Alliance) enters its ninth year, the sports greening movement is experiencing increased international collaboration, domestic expansion and new practices and products that could make sporting operations intrinsically sustainable. Among the most recent examples is the establishment of its first international sister organization, in Japan. Although the Alliance’s membership already included teams, leagues and venues and individuals from 14 countries, Green Sports Alliance Japan is the first nation-member — and helps lay the groundwork for more global collaborations.

“There are countries and regions that are advanced well beyond America when it comes to climate change,” says Alliance Executive Director Justin Zeulner, noting that the nations party to the Paris climate accords have adopted more advanced laws and standards, and some have similar sports greening organizations. They use those organizations, such as the U.K.’s British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS) and Australia’s Sports & Environment Alliance, he adds, “to connect people” to those laws and standards. With establishment of Alliance Japan, he adds, “there may be a chance to establish other sister organizations in Korea and India. The EU Sports Commission is interested in a Green Sports Alliance Europe, as is the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).”

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