Greening the Game

Millions of Americans across the country tuned into the big game a couple weeks ago, which was played for the first time under energy-efficient LED lighting. Why the switch? These lights use at least 75 percent less power than incandescent, saving the venue money on its energy bill and energy, which helps reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The NFL isn’t alone in its journey to fight climate change by becoming more sustainable. Last week we highlighted a number of leading sports teams, organizations, and venues across the industry who are taking action, including our work with greening collegiate sports though the Game Day Recycling Challenge and the collegiate sports sustainability summit. Recycling conserves vital resources, saves energy, and, in 2012, reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 33 million cars off the road for a year. Recycling also creates green jobs and provides essential resources. And during her recent visit to the X Games in Colorado, our Administrator Gina McCarthy, heard first-hand from athletes and the businesses that support them how they are working to protect their winters from climate change.

Here are three ways teams, facilities, and sports organizations are winning by going green:

1. Joining the Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that encourages organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. Over 1,300 Green Power Partners use green power, including nine sports teams and venues. Together, these sports partners use over 344 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity annually, which is equal to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity use of more than 32,000 homes for a year. The teams and organizations that participate include:

  • Michigan International Speedway
  • The National Hockey League
  • New York Mets
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • The Philadelphia Phillies
  • Philadelphia Union
  • Richmond Kickers
  • Saint Paul RiverCentre/Xcel Energy Center
  • St. Louis Rams / Russell Training Center

The National Hockey League (NHL) recently become the first sports organization to make the Green Power Partnership’s National Top 100 List, a list of our Partners using the most green power.

2. Participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, an effort that assists organizations and businesses in preventing extra food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving businesses money and helping communities. Sporting events have a tremendous amount of food left over after events and putting it to good use helps the hungry in our communities and the environment. In 2013, Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted 370,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators and over 36,000 tons were donated to feed those in need. That comes out to nearly 56 million meals for the hungry in our communities.

The NHL donated almost 152,000 pounds of food in 2013 and won the 2014 Food Recovery Challenge Award for Sports and Entertainment Venues, Corporate. In addition to all 30 NHL teams, sixteen sports organizations participate in the Food Recovery Challenge. Sports participants in the Food Recovery Challenge include:

  • The National Hockey League – all teams, all home arenas
  • Allstate Arena
  • Atlanta Braves and Turner Field
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • San Diego Padres
  • Seattle Mariners
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • TD Garden
  • Comcast Spectacor
  • FirstEnergy Stadium
  • Folsom Stadium – University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Georgia Dome
  • Georgia World Congress Center Authority

3. Taking advantage of EPA’s Energy Star program to reduce energy use and save money. Twenty sports teams and venues have partnered with Energy Star, a voluntary program that has helped families and businesses save $300 billion on utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two billion metric tons since 1992. Energy Star sports partners include:

  • Atlanta Braves
  • CenturyLink Field
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Comcast-Spectacor
  • Denver Coliseum
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Louisville Arena Authority
  • Minnesota Wild
  • National Hockey League
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Sports Authority Field at Mile High
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Stadium Managers Association
  • Washington Nationals
  • Xcel Center

If your favorite team is going green, we’d love to hear about it. And, if you are looking for more ways your team or local sports venue can reduce its environmental impact, check out our Green Sports website: :

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