Dialogue with the Director

July 6, 2011

Greening the NFL: A Deeper Look behind the Teams and Stadiums

Guest post by Christopher Noonan, Sustainability Intern

I recently came across an article about the National Football League’s efforts to become more responsible stewards of the environment. The article immediately grabbed my attention as it combined my two loves: the environment and sports.

Upon reading it, I decided to dive deeper into what teams are doing to become more sustainable. What I found was surprising. Not only do many teams have recycling programs, but most expand much farther than merely collecting cardboard and plastics:  

  • Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Philadelphia Eagles, is the leading clean energy stadium. They recently installed 2,500 solar panels and 80 twenty-foot high wind turbines to reduce their carbon footprint, making them the first NFL team to run completely on sustainable energy. Outside the stadium, the team foots the difference in cost for traditional “dirty” energy and nonpolluting, renewable “green” energy for full time employees’ homes to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
  • The New England Patriots recently purchased and installed 2,800 Evergreen Solar PV panels for Gillette Stadium. Over the course of a year, the panels will generate approximately 600,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy.
  • The Arizona Cardinals and their home, University of Phoenix Stadium,  used SRP’s EarthWise Energy program to provide a total of 1,135,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy for the Cardinals’ eight regular season home games and two pre-season home games in 2010. The Denver Broncos purchased renewable energy through Xcel Energy's Windsource Program to offset 100% of the electricity used to power all home games for the 2010-11 season while the Green Bay Packers use Wisconsin Public Service's NatureWise renewable energy program to power game days.
  • During the construction of their new stadium, the Detroit Lion’s reused 300,000 pounds of recycled rubber tires, 20 million pounds of recycled steel in the ceiling and, 10 million pounds in the concrete frame. They also recycled part of an unused warehouse. The south portion of the facility incorporates 750,000 square feet of the old J. L. Hudson department store warehouse.
  • The Houston Texans released the NFL’s first interactive media guide in 2009. The new media guides, housed on USB sticks as opposed to printed books, allowed the Texans to save an estimated 2,600,000 printed pages.
  • New York Giants/New York Jets: The U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the New Meadowlands Stadium’s principal owner signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to incorporate environmentally-friendly materials and practices into the construction and operation of New Meadowlands Stadium for the New York Giants and Jets.

Christopher Noonan is a rising freshman at Dickinson College. He plans to study international business.


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