Solar Scores Big Points From the NFL

This post was originally published in 2013. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Super Bowl XLVII is set for Sunday, February 3, 2013. The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens are heading to the New Orleans Superdome for the biggest football game of the season. Both teams are looking to claim the coveted 2013 Super Bowl Championship title and ring.  In addition to football, the NFL has a national platform to promote responsible energy use and the ability to influence its fan base. In fact, many stadiums across the United States are taking on the challenge to decrease waste and increase energy efficiency. So we ask, which NFL stadiums have invested in green technology and are advocates for the future of renewable energy?

Philadelphia Eagles – Lincoln Financial Field 

Philadelphia Eagles stadium is also known as the “Green Battlefield”.

The Philadelphia Eagles are one of these seasons’ big winners in the game of renewable energy. Lincoln Financial Field is now the “greenest” stadium in the NFL, sporting a new 4 MW wind and PV system.  The system consists of 14 wind turbines mounted on opposing sides of the stadium. A new solar array was also added to an existing PV system making the total number of panels 11,000, spread across parking lots, sections of the stadium’s roof, and a solar wing. The production of renewable energy is now six times the amount of power used during all Eagles home games. It is no wonder Lincoln Field has received the new nickname “Green Battlefield.”   

FedEx Field is home to a 30 foot “solar man” sculpture made out of thin-film PV.

Washington Redskins – FedEx Field

Solar Scores Big Points From the NFL The home of the Washington Redskins, FedEx Field, is now using solar as a renewable energy source in its stadium. A 2 MW PV system was installed in 2011 and consists of over 8,000 PV panels. The system includes PV in the parking lot and charging stations for electric vehicles. A 30-foot “solar man” sculpture made out of thin-film PV technology is located in the solar plaza entry at Gate A of the stadium. The total PV system provides enough energy to power the stadium most of the year when there are no games, and supplies 20 percent of the power needed during home games.

“Patriot Place” located next to Gillette Stadium recently upgraded to a 1 MW PV systtem

New England Patriots – Gillette Stadium 

The New England Patriots have been early adopters in renewable energy since 2007, purchasing renewable energy certificates to off-set energy usage during home games. Today Gillette Stadium has made significant strides to promote clean energy use. Solar powered trash cans are located throughout the stadium. A 525 kW PV system was recently upgraded to a 1 MW PV system with the addition of solar canopies in the shopping complex “Patriot Place,” located adjacent to the stadium.

MetLife Stadium features a ring of LED lights that changes colors depending on which team is playing.

New York Mets and Giants – MetLife Stadium 

The New York Mets and Giants stadium has doubled in size but is currently using 30 percent less energy due to energy efficient equipment, including an automated lighting system and solar. In 2011, the stadium added 1,350 building-integrated photovoltaic panels (BIPV). PV is sandwiched between two panes of glass powering a LED ring that encircles the top of the stadium and changes colors depending on which team is playing. The installation of this innovative solar array has helped spread the message of renewable energy and the possibilities of using PV as a design element.

The Future of Football Stadiums 

While many stadiums are making a considerable effort to update their facilities with energy efficient equipment, PV systems and minimized waste, new stadiums are setting high goals for responsible energy consumption and using renewable energy sources. The San Francisco 49ers’ new Santa Clara Stadium and a new Los Angeles Football Stadium are both in the process of being built to LEED certification for sustainability and powered with renewable energy.

“When sports say we’re going to go solar or waterless, that sends an enormous message to the supply chain,”- Allen Hershkowitz, of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s sports greening initiative. (NY TIMES)

While football has been known in the past as a sport that thrives on a “bigger is better” mentality, it is refreshing to know that the NFL franchise is now using its platform to promote renewable energy as a real solution.

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