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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.

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

Guest Interview with Chris DeVolder

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.