test
Blog Archives

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.

Padres Installing Baseball’s Biggest Solar Project

The San Diego Union Tribune

The $1 million solar project is expected to be finished by the Padres' home opener March 29. Photo Credit: San Diego Union Tribune.

The $1 million solar project is expected to be finished by the Padres’ home opener March 29. Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power.

Petco Park is about to become home to the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball.

  • Workers have begun to install a 336,520-watt project, with 716 solar modules that can produce more than 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the next 25 years.
  • The project will be large — bigger than the solar systems installed by seven other teams combined.
  • The system will be installed on the stadium’s roof and is expected to be ready by the Padres’ season opener March 29.

The Padres go big on solar: Here’s the full story

There are no guarantees how the rebuilding Padres will do this coming season but on the energy front, the team is about to become baseball’s undisputed leader in the solar standings.

Construction of the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball has begun at Petco Park — a 336,520-watt project comprised of 716 high-efficiency, 470-watt solar modules expected to produce more than 12 million kilowatt-hours over the next 25 years.

Seven other teams in the majors have installed solar facilities in recent years but at a Wednesday news conference announcing the plans, officials said the Padres’ solar array will be larger than all the other teams’ facilities combined.

“This project really checked all the boxes for us,” said Erik Greupner, Padres chief operating officer. “It’s something that will generate energy savings for us over time and it’s consistent with the priorities to our fan base and to the city of San Diego.”

Workers from San Diego-based Sullivan Solar Power began installing the modules earlier this week and the Padres anticipate the project will be wrapped up in time for the team’s season opener March 29 against Milwaukee.

SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
396
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
188
TEAMS
193
VENUES
15
LEAGUES