By Houston Barber
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a behemoth, located delicately in the center of downtown Atlanta between skyscrapers, public parks, and thousands of homes. Huge, triangular glass panes make up the outer walls of the $1.5 billion structure and reflect a diverse city that is hosting three professional stadium projects completing in the span of a year (the Braves open their new ballpark in April and the Hawks are planning a massive renovation ready for next season).
In 2017, sports stadiums have become the source of increasing public criticism. Debate has raged on the ethics of billionaire owners threatening their hometown with relocating in exchange for hundreds of millions in stadium funding. Studies, such as the one done by Stanford’s Roger Noll, have created doubt as to how much value a stadium truly adds to a community. So how does a modern mega sports complex answer these questions? Can a billion dollar stadium give back as much as it takes? It’s a question that needs to be answered, and perhaps Atlanta’s Arthur Blank is the one to do it.
The decision to build a new NFL stadium in Atlanta was not without controversy. The former Georiga Dome was built in 1992 and was only 18 years old when plans were announced for its replacement. Negotiations between Blank and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed were productive and no shakedown occurred, but that didn’t prevent critics from balking at the $200 million of public money that was spent on what might not be the most necessary of stadium projects. What the critics didn’t know at the time was just what Blank had up his sleeve; a vision to transform what a stadium could do to a surrounding community, and an ambitious quest to build the most environmentally friendly NFL stadium ever.
To truly understand what this stadium is, you have to understand its surroundings. Mercedes-Benz Stadium sits on the edge of Atlanta’s Westside, a fraught neighborhood that has seen the raw end of real estate deals in the past. When heavy storms roll through the city, rain water tends to overwhelm the sewer system and funnel into the neighborhoods in the Westside. The result is heavy flood damage that never gets repaired. It’s been an issue largely ignored for decades, but Blank and his team developed a plan to use the stadium to alleviate the problem. In the early stages of construction, a 1.1 million gallon storm vault was implemented to catch rainwater. That harvested water will be used for irrigation and the stadium’s cooling system. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s an example of a new kind of awareness in stadium engineering that Mercedes-Benz Stadium hopes to pioneer.
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by LA Kings PR @LAKingsPR / LAKings.com
The LA Kings today announced their latest initiative: LA Kings Green, an umbrella program to encompass the team’s sustainable initiatives.
In recognition that environmental issues directly impact hockey, a sport that is often learned atop of frozen ponds, LA Kings Green aims to bring more awareness to the most critical environmental issues and will continue to drive positive impact through arena operations as well as fan and community engagement.
In collaboration with AEG 1EARTH, AEG’s corporate-wide sustainability program, LA Kings Green addresses a wide-range of sustainability-related topics. The focus of Kings Green is threefold:
- Arena Operations: Regular upgrades to the facility to improve its efficiency and maintain STAPLES Center’s status as an industry leader in sustainable practices.
- Fan Engagement: Positive, actionable information learned at STAPLES Center and on the LA Kings website to apply at home.
- Community Engagement: Practical opportunities for fans to reduce their environmental footprint through community service events.
“We’re always looking for more ways to enhance fan engagement and the game-day experience. STAPLES Center prioritizes environmental sustainability: This is an ISO-14001-certified building, has had array of rooftop solar panels since 2009, was the first US NHL arena to install LED sports lights, and, most recently, Former Vice President Al Gore and other dignitaries helped us celebrate the installation of our new 500-kilowatt Bloom Energy fuel cell, which will further help reduce the arena’s carbon footprint,” said Lee Zeidman, President, STAPLES Center and L.A. LIVE. “We’re excited to support the LA Kings with the launch of their new sustainability initiative, Kings Green. This program will add significant value to communicating environmental best practices to our guests.”
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By Boston Bruins @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com
The Boston Bruins and the Boston Bruins Foundation announced today the launch of their Green Up New England Challenge in partnership with Project Green Schools and Walmart. This new initiative aims to develop Green Student Leaders in schools throughout New England.
Schools across New England that enter the challenge will be asked to compete in energy reduction, waste reduction, water reduction, best green school practices, best green community practices, and best green sports practices. Awards will be given for each category.
To participate in the challenge, schools will be asked to complete an online application by March 22, 2017. Apply here.
A team of judges will measure submitted applications on the following: overall concept, environmental impact, creativity, number of participants engaged, and how effective schools were at getting the message out. One grand prize winning school will receive a classroom/sustainability lab makeover from the Boston Bruins and Walmart next fall.
Honorees will be announced on March 28 and will be recognized at the Bruins game on April 1 vs. the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
To enter this challenge, administrators, teachers, and students can fill out the entry form on projectgreenschools.org. For questions regarding the Green Up New England Challenge, contact Project Green Schools at: email@example.com or call (508) 272-9653.
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