By Dan Munn, DLR Group
To close June on a sustainable note, I attended the Green Sports Alliance Summit 2017 in Sacramento, California, and joined the Make It Last: Sustainable Solutions for Existing Venues panel with leaders representing Key Arena, New York Mets’ Citi Field, and Wrigley Field. These sporting venues implemented sustainable, innovative solutions to modernize their iconic facilities. During our panel we shared challenges encountered during the design processes and how we overcame these barriers, ranging from budgeting to infrastructure. The final result of these American landmarks are energy efficient upgrades that reflect sustainable champions.
Solar Energy Brings the Heat
I spoke about DLR Group’s recent canopy design for NRG Energy at the Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena, which created a sustainable, marketable space to replace a formerly low-traffic area. Our design centers on a vibrant skylight canopy that generates environmentally-friendly solar energy. The canopy is composed of 14 solar skylights producing approximately 34,000 kW/hour of energy per year and powers flexible hospitality stations, LED screens, advertising, and WiFi connections. A color changing LED system creates an energetic atmosphere, drawing people to this space. This upgrade maximizes the triple bottom line of fan engagement, sustainable operations, and increased revenue.
There have been many questions as to whether solar energy is a cost effective energy solution. Aside from an industry compound annual growth rate of over 60 percent in solar energy, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent over the last 10 years.