Everything about the Super Bowl is big – the athletes, the media coverage, the prices for hotels. It’s also a big opportunity to help the environment by using as little energy as possible. The NFL and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey have seized the opportunity by making this the greenest Super Bowl ever.
MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants – and host to this year’s Super Bowl – is a model of green design. It is the most energy-efficient football stadium in the US, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.
And EPA has been involved from the very beginning. While the stadium was being built, EPA signed a memorandum of understanding with the stadium’s owner outlining a plan to build and operate the new stadium as a green building.
The Super Bowl wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without food, and the NFL and MetLife Stadium are making sure that leftover food doesn’t go to waste. The NFL plans to donate unused food to local soup kitchens, shelters and churches, which will feed the hungry while keeping food waste from being shipped to landfills and incinerators.
MetLife Stadium and its foodservice partner – Delaware North Companies Sportservice – have been named the first-ever Certified Green Restaurant stadium by the Green Restaurant Association. This is the largest food service operation ever to be given this certification; the stadium includes over 200 on-site restaurants servicing up to 100,000 people a day.
MetLife Stadium achieves substantial energy savings by using a variety of techniques that add up to make a big difference. By using synthetic turf, drought resistant plants and waterless urinals, the stadium has reduced its water demand by nearly nine million gallons per year. The stadium uses environmentally-sustainable packaging at its food stands. And the energy savings started even as the stadium was being built; stadium construction used an innovative protocol for salvaging and recycling construction materials from the former Giants Stadium.
MetLife Stadium and the NFL aren’t stopping there.
- Biodiesel fuel will be used in outdoor power generators.
- The NFL will purchase renewable energy certificates for Super Bowl-related events.
- The NFL has organized an electronics recycling program to accompany the game. The fabric used for signs during the game (five to seven miles of fabric will be used!) will be reused as decorations in airports, train stations and bus stations after the game.
- EPA has worked to green hotels and restaurants around the stadium by providing information about energy and water efficiency and food conservation.
Taken together, these efforts add up to a successful environmental effort. A good energy conservation strategy is like a good football team: you need many contributions from many sources to achieve a single goal. And in terms of helping the environment, the NFL and MetLife Stadium are already winners before the game has even started.
For more information on EPA’s green sports efforts visit: http://www2.epa.gov/green-sports.
Judith Enck is the Administrator of Region 2 of the U.S. EPA, where she directs the Agency’s operations in in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations. Previously, she was Deputy Secretary for the Environment in the New York State Governor’s Office. Judith was raised in the Catskill Mountains and is a graduate of the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.