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Mercedes-Benz Stadium Brings Sustainability to the Forefront of Sports

gb&d
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.

Aramark to Reduce Single-Use Disposable Plastics Across Global Operations by 2022

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK), a global leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, today announced a commitment to significantly reduce single-use disposable plastics, across its global food service operations, by 2022. Single-use plastic items include straws, stirrers, bags, cutlery and various packaging materials. Aramark will implement actions across the 19 countries where it serves 2 billion meals annually in schools and workplaces, sports and leisure venues, hospitals and other locations.

Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastics are leaked into the world’s oceans. According to a recent Aramark consumer survey*, the majority (60%) of respondents are concerned with the overuse of plastic and nearly 80% are trying to reduce personal consumption by recycling and reusing plastic bottles and bags. The primary environmental concern is the impact on marine life and oceans.

“Aramark shares our guests’ passion to protect and preserve our oceans. Today’s announcement provides an opportunity to make meaningful achievements in minimizing our environmental impact, while continuing to deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives,” said Eric Foss, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “By working hand-in-hand with our customers and consumers, we can make significant progress in limiting the consumption of single-use plastics, reducing waste before it happens, and creating a healthier planet.”

Today’s announcement is part of a holistic strategy to address single-use plastics overall, starting with the most visible category of straws and stirrers, offering reusable products, encouraging consumers to join in, and looking ahead at design and innovation.

The company’s single-use plastic reduction strategy includes:

1) Phasing out use of plastic straws and stirrers, and offering eco-friendly alternatives, where possible, starting September, 2018. This will result in a 60% decrease in plastic straws by 2020, or nearly 100 million fewer straws annually in the U.S., enough to stretch halfway around the world if placed end to end.

2) Prioritizing additional categories to drive reduction of all single-use plastics, such as bags and cutlery.

3) Expanding offerings of reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, take out containers and bags.

4) Partnering with our suppliers and national brands to reduce packaging through design and innovation.

5) Educating and enabling consumers to eliminate or reduce single-use plastics.

6) Reporting on our progress and challenges to ensure transparency and continuous improvement.

Despite concern for the environment, consumers recognize that special circumstances require continued, but decreased, use of plastic straws by individuals with special needs and hospital patients. Aramark will continue to make smaller quantities available upon request, and will also offer eco-friendly alternatives, in select locations.

Aramark is aiming for plastic straw and stirrer reduction, with measurable improvement, targeting:

• 100% elimination in national parks, higher education residential dining and select business dining locations, representing hundreds of client locations.

• 30% to 60% reduction across hundreds of K-12 schools, sports venues and healthcare facilities, and nearly 60% reduction in Canadian operations.

The company is also launching a “Sip Smarter” consumer marketing campaign to raise awareness, inform consumers and drive change. The campaign is designed to complement the operational actions with messaging that will help to minimize plastic consumption. Signs will be included in operational merchandising to alert customers about the changes, where they can still find straws upon request and ways they can reduce personal consumption of single-use plastics.

Aramark’s size and reach provide an opportunity to minimize environmental impact in thousands of locations and communities, across the globe, and help conserve the health of the world’s oceans. The company joined the United Nations Environment Programme campaign #CleanSeas, to reduce single-use plastics by 2022, and partners with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, to source responsible fresh and frozen finfish and shellfish.

To learn more about Green Thread, Aramark’s commitment to environmental sustainability, visit www.aramark.com/responsibility.

Read the full press release here.

2018.07.24-Aramark Infographic-IMAGE

How Staples Center and the Kings Learned to Make Ice from Thin Air

Los Angeles Times
By Ronald D. White

Executives from Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings were willing to hear a start-up’s pitch about slicing energy costs and improving the quality of the arena’s ice sheet, which has never enjoyed a great reputation among professional hockey players.

But when they heard they could do all that and more using a machine that pulls water straight from the air, their first reaction was to laugh out loud.

“It sounded crazy, just too good to be true,” Kelly Cheeseman, chief operating officer for the Los Angeles Kings and AEG Sports, said of the idea floated at the meeting two years ago. Cheeseman was sold after a test at the Kings training facility brought “great reactions from the players right away.”

Now, the El Segundo company behind the machine, BluEco Technology Group, has teamed up with the Kings and Staples Center owner-operator AEG Worldwide to sell the devices to hockey arenas and other big facilities.

View the story here.

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