By Ryan M. Colker, Presidential Advisor, National Institute of Building Sciences
As I age, I am all too often reminded that I am no longer twenty years old. It takes increased diligence to maintain the level of fitness I once had and it’s becoming harder and harder to look cool. However, my circle of friends has built up over time and I am who I am because of the experiences I’ve had. Plus, it takes some effort to continually learn and evolve to keep fresh and on top of my game.
Sports venues are no different. While often state-of-the-art when they opened, existing venues require attention to assure optimal performance. Generations of fans have made their way through the doors, established a relationship with the venue and built memories based on their time there. However, venues need to evolve to stay fresh and build more relationships through ongoing, high-quality fan experiences.
Whether relatively new or over 100 years old, sports venues are icons in their communities. They can serve as coaches, demonstrating the positive influence sustainability-focused choices have on their fans’ lives while solidifying the team’s interest in the health and well-being of their community.
Earlier this year, the National Institute of Building Sciences, in conjunction with the Green Sports Alliance, wrapped up a year-long project examining the state of energy and water efficiency efforts in stadiums and arenas. (Be sure to check out the final report https://www.nibs.org/page/TakingTheField). One lesson from this effort is that without the leadership and involvement of existing venues, achievement of sustainability in sports is not possible.
While the data on energy and water use in stadiums and arenas at a national level is not yet available (help make a dent in that issue by completing the energy and water efficiency survey, http://bit.ly/2k15V6E), individual venues have identified the steps they can take to improve their own performance. The Miami Heat, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Storm are positioning their facilities to PLAY GREENER ™. Strong management practices and strategic upgrades are helping these existing stadiums and arenas maintain and improve energy and water performance while enhancing the fan experience.
The Heat sought to take an underutilized space and create a revenue generating plaza that highlighted their commitment to sustainability. The Mets have settled in to their relatively new CitiField, but are still focused on improving and optimizing operations and maintaining a high-quality fan experience. The World Series Champion Chicago Cubs have tackled the challenge of maintaining the charm and historic character of Wrigley Field while incorporating sustainable features and upgrading amenities for fans, players, staff, vendors and press. KeyArena in Seattle, now over 20 years old, has struggled to find capital funds for large scale improvements, so the operations team has focused on building tune ups and other low cost strategies to realize their sustainability goals.
The Green Sports Alliance Summit not only serves as a perfect opportunity to learn from these and other industry leaders, but also to gain the motivation and enthusiasm necessary to push forward on tackling your sustainability challenges. See you at the Summit session June 29th at 9:30 am, for Make It Last: Sustainable Solutions for Existing Venues where we pick up the discussion.
Session speakers include:
- Moderator: Ryan Colker | Director of Consultative Council/Presidential Advisor, National Institute of Building Sciences
- Andrew Pigozzi, AIA, LEED AP | Associate, Stantec Architecture
- Michael Dohnert | Senior Director, Ballpark Operations, New York Mets, Citi Field
- Ned Dunn | Assistant Director, Redevelopment/Capital Budget, Seattle Center
- Dan Munn | Senior Principal / Energy + Engineering Global Sector Leader, DLR Group