Green Wins Super Bowl XLIX (sorry no, I don’t mean the Seahawks)

Even though the green (and blue) team didn’t win Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, GREEN did.

Image courtesy of Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
Image courtesy of Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

What even am I talking about? Well, this year, the University of Phoenix stadium, along with the help of the National Football League, hosted the greenest Superbowl yet in terms of environmental friendliness.

During my poster presentation at the American Geophysical Union conference in December, I talked to a lot of people about how sports teams and leagues are becoming more green, and taking pride in the energy they save, food waste they eliminate, and water use they shrink.

A lot the eco-friendly mission was based on the implemented green practices of the University of Phoenix Stadium. LED lights, which take less energy to power, fill the stadium. Recycling bins filled with glass, plastic, cardboard and paper generate 120 tons of recycled trash every year. The recycling list includes brown paper bags, cardboard, chipboard, magazines, telephone books, printer paper, junk mail, pamphlets, flyers, game day programs, glass and plastic bottles. Even their cleaning products are green: hand soap, cleaning solutions, toilet tissue and paper towels are all environmentally friendly or recycled, or both. The toilets in the stadium are dual flush or low-water, preserving water use for the stadium as a whole.

The NFL also paired up with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee to plant trees in four cities around Glendale as part of an urban forestry project.

In general, the NFL has paired with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide green sports information to the public, even showing the initiatives that the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots take in their own stadiums. The Green Sports Alliance is another example of sports teams (professional and college) taking the environment seriously.

Levi’s Stadium, recently opened home of the San Francisco 49ers, will be the site of Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. The arena is LEED gold certified (second highest U.S. Green Building Council certification scale rating), the first professional football arena to do so. The space features accessibility to public transportation and bike paths, solar panels for energy, the use of 100% reclaimed wood, the use of recycled products when possible, a 27,000 foot green roof, reclaimed water for potable and non-potable uses, local suppliers for food, and recycling/composting of food products.

The last green fun fact I’ll give you: American households usually consume less energy during the Super Bowl because everyone is watching at one house, together. Maybe we should have viewing parties with our friends more often!

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