Like many 49er fans, I met the news of the Santa Clara stadium with a certain degree of shock: would our beloved niners really have to play outside their home city? While I personally would have much preferred the 49ers and the city of San Francisco work out the difficulties of
building a new stadium in Candlestick Point, I am still pleased with outcome of the plans for the new Santa Clara facility, set to be completed in time for the 2014 season.
Upon completion, the Santa Clara stadium is set to become the NFL’s first LEED certified stadium and the largest LEED certified structure on record furnished with a huge green roof and about 20,000 sq. ft. of photovoltaic panels (solar power). The facility will utilize recycled water for landscaping irrigation and toilets and the developers have even set a goal for diverting 75% of the non-hazardous construction waste from landfills. The 49er’s CEO, Jed York, has even expressed interest in showcasing local foods at stadium vendors.
There is a lot to be excited about for the future of the Niners: The Harbaugh era has commenced and the team is getting a well-deserve new stadium in the heart of Silicon Valley. Let’s just hope the 49ers don’t fumble their focus of environmental sustainability as they march on to their next super bowl victory.
Major league sports franchises have traditionally been symbols of strength and pride, inspiring and entertaining the masses for generations. More recently, top tier leagues have been adopting a new symbol of recognition: sustainability. Spearheaded by efforts from the Green Sports Alliance, a growing number of soccer, hockey, basketball, football, baseball, lacrosse teams and tennis and golf venues are now making environmental issues a top priority.
The Alliance’s goal is to bring sports organizations and environmental experts together in order to improve the environmental performance of sports facilities and operations. They are hosting their second annual Green Sports Summit in Seattle, Washington on September 5-7th and have arranged workshops on sustainable facility operations, innovative concession solutions, and much more. The Alliance’s website boasts a newsfeed (which I have been frequenting) and a featured member spotlight, currently of the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been tackling their waste generation head on, boasting a 99% landfill diversion rate, among other outstanding achievements.
Large sporting events generate large amounts of waste from the many thousands of food and drink containers thrown away, to the energy consumed with the powering and lighting of the stadiums and transporting of the teams and fans. It makes me extremely optimistic to see these teams taking steps to address these concerns kudos to the Green Sports Alliance for being the vehicle of this change. I am especially curious to see what kind of changes will come to concession stands at baseball parks and football stadiums in the coming years. Will hot dogs and cracker jacks be a thing of the past, replaced by locally sourced minimally packaged kale and zucchini chips?
This kind of collaboration is a new source of pride and inspiration from sports teams that will foster environmental activism from a widespread fan base all whilst rooting for your home team.