A Slam Dunk for Sustainability
Leaders from the Sports and Sustainability industries gathered in June for the 2017 Green Sports Alliance in Sacramento, Calif. I was part of 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.
We should be looking at increased operational revenue in calculating ROI. You can read more about this here.
The 3-year ROI goal for AmericanAirlines Arena was met due to visitor engagement, which more than compensates for the company’s original investment. This space now sees revenue generation during both game days and non-game days, hosting concerts, private pregame parties, and events unaffiliated with Miami Heat. In addition to these outcomes, the eye-catching display has become an iconic addition to the Miami skyline.
The athletic venues discussed during this panel are integral to the American sports landscape and strive to be stewards of the community and the environment in a relevant way. There are many ways to answer the call for a more sustainable future, and the Green Sports Alliance Summit leverages “the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.”
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