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.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Joins “Take 3 for the Sea” Campaign

Grant is given to Take 3 by 11th Hour Racing to further their education work

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (5 January 2018) – From the high seas of the Volvo Ocean Race, Vestas 11th Hour Racing announced their commitment to join the #Take3fortheSea movement to fight plastic pollution through simple actions. The concept is easy, anywhere you go, be it the beach, the marina or a walk in the woods, pick up at least 3 pieces of litter.

As part of this engagement, 11th Hour Racing, co-title partner of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, will give Take 3 a $10,000 grant – this is the fourth of twelve grants that 11th Hour Racing will award throughout the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean as part of the teams legacy project.

To help grow this global initiative and be active players in mitigating the issue of ocean pollution, the sailors of Vestas 11th Hour Racing have created a video to encourage their fans to join them! Please help spread this movement by sharing this video – and picking up 3 pieces of litter on your next walk! Show your work and help spread the message by snapping a picture of the trash and sharing with the hashtags #Take3fortheSea and #Vestas11thhourracing.

Tim Silverwood, co-founder, and CEO of Take 3 joined the team in Melbourne to discuss the movement’s impact and plans for the future. Take 3’s aim is to use education to inspire participation to reduce global plastic pollution. The organization’s education programs have reached over 120,000 school students and over 150,000 community members since 2011. Through technology and online communications, the group aims to expand globally and develop citizen science programs to enable community members to provide valuable information on plastic pollution distribution and sources. Additionally, Tim made a splash as the leg jumper for the start of Leg 4.

Read the full story here.

New Partnership to Study how Boardsports Address Sustainability

Climate Action

Photo Credit: Climate Action

Photo Credit: Climate Action

The international retailer, Surfdome, has partnered with the Plymouth Sustainability and Surfing Research Group (PSSRG) to provide a ‘reality check’ on how boardsports brands have incorporated sustainability into their core values.

As consumer attitudes are changing towards products and brands offering sustainability credentials, due to increased awareness and readily available information, boardsports brands are facing increasing pressure to account for their environmental impact.

The newly announced research will aim to map the current industry attitude towards sustainability, its level of understanding of current environmental challenges associated with boardsports and their current or future plans to address those issues.

The PSSRG is considered a global hub for expertise around the correlation between surfing and sustainability and the new research aims for a ‘reality-check’ to highlight the industry’s strengths and point out areas where it underperforms to encourage progress.

Gregory Borne Director of PSSRG explained: “This is an exciting opportunity to explore the sustainability positions of a large number of brands within the surf, skate and snow sector”.

“The research will provide a benchmark for exploring sustainability within this sector and directly inform policies and programs that will shape the future of the market, and understand what is required for a transition towards sustainability”.

Read the full story here.

SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
403
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
193
TEAMS
194
VENUES
16
LEAGUES