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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.

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FIFA Announce that World Cup Stadia Meet Green Standards

Australasian Leisure Management

Image shows the Kazan Arena.

Image shows the Kazan Arena.

All 12 stadia being utilised for the 2018 World Cup have achieved FIFA’s new environment sustainability standards.

Russia 2018 is the first edition of the World Cup to have green building certification as a mandatory requirement for all stadia under construction or renovation.

The aim of this requirement from world football’s governing body is to ensure that the construction and renovation of stadia are carried out in a more sustainable manner, and that their design considers key environmental and social concerns that will allow for more sustainable operation in the long term.

To comply with FIFA stadium requirements and as part of the wider infrastructure project for the 2018 World Cup Russia, a new standard was drawn up in 2016 by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and with the support of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee (LOC) – RUSO.

The RUSO standard was developed solely for football stadium certification in accordance with the principle of ‘green’ construction.

FIFA said that nine of the 12 World Cup stadia were certified according to this new Russian standard, while the other three complied with the international Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standard.

The three to have reached this higher standard are the Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium in Moscow and Sochi’s Fisht Stadium, which was first developed for the 2014 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

LOC-RUSO’s Head of Sustainability, Milana Verkhunova explained “achieving green certification for all our stadiums will have a big impact on their effective use in the long run, especially in regards to reducing expenditure on water and energy.

“This will be a game changer for sports infrastructure in Russia and a true legacy of the FIFA World Cup here.”

View the article here.

Grass Not the Only Thing Green in Modern Stadiums

By Dawn Yankeelov

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in Atlanta, will be able to prevent 680,000 gallons of untreated rainfall to reach the sewers. Credit: istockphoto.com/MarilynNieves

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in Atlanta, will be able to prevent 680,000 gallons of untreated rainfall to reach the sewers. Credit: istockphoto.com/MarilynNieves

Hot summer days lead us into stadiums that showcase some of the most important building construction leaps forward in recent years, from green construction practices to energy-efficiency, and now a test bed for solar technologies.

The Green Sports Alliance just announced a partnership to synthesize and review the “green data in June 2018 with Measurabl, the world’s most widely adopted sustainability software for the built environment. More than 5.5 billion square feet of commercial property valued in excess of $1.5 trillion in 70 countries use their software to manage, benchmark and report sustainability performance.

The sports culture has embraced sustainability and green construction for more than a decade and made a big splash in revealing their practices visible to spectators. More than 73 million fans turn out to stadiums each year, moving in environments noted for their sophistication in water management, heating and cooling technologies, modular construction and even solar photovoltaics.

The U.S. Department of Energy, working with the National Institute of Building Sciences, funded a 2017 66-page report – Taking the Field –on stadiums. Green building rating programs, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), allow owners, operators and designers to think holistically about implementing sustainable design and operations practices. To date, 80 venues have comported to a LEED standard, according to the report. Key agencies in the federal government that have engaged the sports communities and stadiums include the U.S. Department of Energy, the State Department and the EPA.

Read the full story here.

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