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Press Release
September 5, 2012

Game Changer: New Report Spotlights Pro Sports’ Sustainability Leaders

SEATTLE (September 5, 2012) –Solar panels and recycling bins are becoming as common as hot dog vendors for professional sports teams and their venues, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, in collaboration with the Green Sports Alliance. The new report reveals the collective impact the uniquely influential professional sports industry is having on advancing environmental protection in North America, documenting innovative and cost-effective steps taken across all professional leagues.

“The motivation for sports to engage in greening is simple; the games we love today were born outdoors, and without clean air to breathe, clean water and a healthy climate, sports would be impossible,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, director of NRDC’s green sports project.  “A cultural shift in environmental awareness is needed in order for us to address the serious ecological problems we face, and the sports industry, through its own innovative actions, has chosen to lead the way. Pro sports are showing that smart energy, water and recycling practices make sense.  They save money and prevent waste.  That’s as mainstream and non-partisan as it comes.”

The report, Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment, presents 20 case studies of teams, venues and league events that have led the green movement in pro sports by adopting sustainable solutions to their energy, water, and waste needs. The findings document the bottom-line benefits of greening and the role of sports as society’s newest advocate for environmentally-sound practices, sentiments shared by Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who provided the report’s Preface and jumpstarted pro sports’ greening efforts in 2006.

“In my two decades as Commissioner, I have seen our sport take important strides forward on this essential issue,” wrote Selig, who will be presented the Environmental Leadership Award at the Green Sports Alliance Summit Gala at Safeco Field in Seattle on September 6. “As we strive to fulfill our social responsibilities, the national pastime will continue to protect our natural resources for future generations of baseball fans and to set an example of which they can be proud.”

Play-by-play: Innovative strides teams, leagues and venues are making to improve sustainability


Of 126 professional sports teams in the five major North American leagues, 38 have shifted to renewable energy for at least some of their operations and 68 have energy efficiency programs. Examples detailed in the report include:

  • Solar – STAPLES Center has a 1,727-panel solar array covering 25,000 square feet of the arena’s roof. The 345.6-kilowatt system supplies 5 to 20 percent of the building’s energy use (depending on load) and produces 525,000 kilowatt-hours annually, saving an average of $55,000 per year.
  • Wind – In 2012, Cleveland’s Progressive Field became the first professional sports facility to install a wind turbine, which generates more than 40,000 kilowatt hours per year.
  • Renewable Mix - Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, home of the National Football League’s (NFL) Philadelphia Eagles, will be the first stadium in the U.S. capable of generating 100 percent of its energy through a mix of solar panels, a generator that runs on natural gas and biodiesel, and, soon, 14 wind turbines.
  • Efficiency - The Seattle Mariners replaced an old incandescent scoreboard with a new LED scoreboard, lowering annual electricity consumption by more than 90 percent and reducing energy costs by $50,000 a year.


To continue reading this press release, click over to the NRDC website.

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