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Mercedes-Benz Stadium Brings Sustainability to the Forefront of Sports

By Rachel Coon

[Photo: AMBSE]

[Photo: AMBSE]

When Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, and his team of designers envisioned the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, they set out to do what had never been done. “We wanted to redefine the stadium experience,” says Scott Jenkins, who joined the team in 2014 as stadium general manager, just as they broke ground. “Every step of the way, while we were focused on the fan experience, we were also focused on making the venue as environmentally smart as we could,” says Jenkins, a pioneer in the green building movement in sports and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance.

Platinum Performance

The 2 million-square-foot, $1.5 billion project was designed by HOK, who worked with BuroHappold Engineering and Hoberman Associates to complete the stadium in July 2017. Home to the Atlanta Falcons and the new Atlanta United soccer club, Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened its doors to a sell-out crowd of 72,000 for its first soccer match in August 2017. In November 2017, the stadium was awarded LEED Platinum, making it the first professional sports venue in the world to achieve that level. To be LEED certified, a building must acquire 40 points—to reach LEED Platinum, an additional 40 must be acquired. Blank and his team scored 88 points, carefully considering every line item in categories like building materials, energy, water, and site location. Jenkins says, “Our approach was to go after everything.”

Most visibly, the stadium’s sustainability features include 4,000 solar panels placed not on the rooftop but, as part of the aesthetic, at eye level on ticket entryways and parking lot canopies. The panels generate enough energy to power nine Falcons games or 13 United matches. The advanced storm water management program includes an on-site 2.1 million gallon storm water vault, bioswales, and a 680,000-gallon cistern for collecting and reusing rainwater for a cooling tower and irrigation. This combined with water-efficient fixtures resulted in a 47% reduction in domestic water use. Plus, given the stadium’s location west of downtown—where neighborhoods have been plagued by flooding for years—it was important to Blank and his team to reduce the venue’s contribution to local storm events.

Read the full story.

Member Spotlight: Maryland Stadium Authority & Baltimore Orioles

Alliance Blog, content provided by Maryland Stadium Authority

A lot of exciting news has been coming out of Baltimore recently in the green sports movement!

In April of 2018, the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) and the Baltimore Orioles announced that after a multi-year effort of research and enhancements, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded Oriole Park at Camden Yards with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for an existing building. Oriole Park becomes the fourth, and the oldest, LEED Gold certified facility in Major League Baseball.


“There has always been a desire to match M&T Bank Stadium’s LEED status, but there were more people to get involved between Oriole Park and the Warehouse. We had a longer way to go,” said Jana Brooks, Manager, Event and Tenant Services at Maryland Stadium Authority. “We wanted to become the first EB O&M certified complex that houses an MLB and NFL stadium. In addition, we wanted to provide a healthier work environment for our tenants and stadium partners.”

Jana Brooks-headshot

Jana Brooks, Manager, Event and Tenant Services at Maryland Stadium Authority

Oriole Park and the accompanying B&O Warehouse, which was awarded with LEED Silver, demonstrate year-round sustainable activities and practices including waste management, recycling, paperless tickets, and reduced energy usage and electrical consumption.

Strategies like these are great ways of connecting your venue’s sustainability efforts to the fans and local community.  “(Fans) have responded well, but there is constant reinforcing that needs to take place between fans and employees alike as most are transient,” said Brooks.

For more information visit: https://www.mdstad.com/node/967

In addition to achieving LEED Status, Jana and the Maryland Stadium Authority will be hosting a “Huddle” (one-day seminar) on May 30th.  The event will seek to increase awareness of the Green Sports Alliance and the International Association of Venue Managers organizations and missions, generate sustainability conversations to improve conditions in our state and region, and to showcase the Camden Yards Sports Complex sustainability and LEED certification efforts.

We asked Jana Brooks to provide some information on the event:

GSA: What are you featuring and focusing on in this event?

JB: I am focusing on expanding the knowledge base of the operators of other venues and helping them, in any way possible, to get started on the corporate social responsibility aspect of sustainability. I want to introduce them to both organizations and how each organization’s networks can assist each other with their goals.

GSA: Why is it important to host and feature local content?

JB: We tend to work in our own bubbles and don’t overlap too much. We network at numerous events, but not too many with a sustainability focus (that I know of). I’m accepting all invitations!

GSA: How do you feel about the future of the sustainability in sports and entertainment in the Baltimore area?

JB: The future will get much brighter because more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of their carbon footprints and want to help the cause – world preservation. Every little bit helps and the return on investment is a huge benefit of each type of business/venue.

For more information on the event, please visit: https://www.iavm.org/iavm-green-sports-alliance-host-professional-development-networking-event-may-30


Sports Stadiums Help Lead the Way Toward Greener Architecture

By Ken Belson, New York Times

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the first to win Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification for energy efficiency and sustainable design. Credit: Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the first to win Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification for energy efficiency and sustainable design.
Credit: Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times

ATLANTA — On a walking tour of the nine-month-old, $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium here last month, Scott Jenkins, the general manager for the building, stopped in front of a 20-foot-high gray concrete box underneath an overpass. There was little to suggest what was inside. No signs, markings or equipment.

Mr. Jenkins, an evangelist for all things green, was animated. The otherwise generic structure, he said, holds up to 680,000 gallons of rainwater collected mostly from the roof of the enormous stadium standing just a few feet away. The runoff is used to irrigate the vegetation around the building, and by storing much of it, flooding will be reduced in the low-lying West End neighborhood nearby. In other words, the 120-foot-long cistern saves money and helps the surrounding area.

“It’s a community play as much as an environmental play, to do our part around issues in the neighborhood,” Mr. Jenkins said. “If you looked at the return on investment for the water, it will take a long time to pay off. But some of this is good for business and some is good for the community.”

Read the full article here.

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