Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Sports stadium owners are making big plays for sustainability as the dual economic and environmental benefits of green construction and renovation increasingly make for a winning strategy.

Thirty sustainably designed stadiums across the United States have been awarded or are in the midst of earning Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This third-party green building certification recognizes buildings that conserve water, reduce energy use, cut construction waste and support other sustainability goals.

The AmericanAirlines Arena, home to the Miami Heat basketball team, was the first National Basketball Association arena to earn LEED for Existing Buildings certification. The facility recently achieved LEED Gold recertification.

Momentum is also picking up for green development on the international playing field. The Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit organization of sustainably minded professional sports leagues, teams and stadiums from around the world, includes in its ranks 191 venues that have publicly committed to improving their environmental performance.

These aren’t just feel-good moves, according to Rex Hamre, Vice President of Projects, JLL Americas. “Stadium owners must constantly evaluate two major ongoing questions,” says Hamre. “How can they fill more seats now and in the long run? And how can they continually ensure profitability while improving the fan experience? Green building strategies can help address both questions at once.”

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