LEED for Sports Facilities

By Bradley Vogel
BD+C Project Coordinator
LEED Green Associate
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)

photo of U.S. Bank StadiumFrom mega-events to local stadiums and arenas, sports facilities have made the commitment to minimize their carbon footprints. Whether it is a top down effort or a grass root initiative, sustainability at sport facilities has become the norm at all sporting levels. Colleges and conferences, leagues and teams, facilities and facility operators all recognize the need and benefits of embracing some type of green initiative. The motives for embracing sustainability all widely vary, from economics reasons to statute-oriented ones, but the overall, these facilities understand the high-level importance of being good stewards of the environment. Unlike most standard office buildings, sports facilities get much more publicity in the media, both good and bad, and as a result they have an extremely visible platform to encourage positive change. LEED offers a path for these facilities to really gauge how positive their efforts are and gives them the ability to analyze and make educated decisions on how keep minimizing their carbon footprint. In addition, because of the competitive nature of sports in general, LEED offers a like-for-like comparison of these stadiums and facilities that allows teams and facilities to push each other to keep improving.

photo of Target Field | Minneapolis, MNA great example of this is occurring in the Twin Cities where facilities use LEED as the benchmark for all their sustainable operations. This ability to gauge initiatives in a comprehensive manner allows facilities and teams to constantly improve and push one another. Consequently, in the Twin Cities alone there are two facilities with a Platinum certification for Operations and Maintenance, and one with a Gold certification for Operations and Maintenance. Two of these facilities, Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, and U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, used LEED Performance path and the Arc platform to track and submit their LEED certifications. Target Field, who is touted as the greenest ballpark in America, was the first stadium to use the Arc platform to achieve its LEED Gold designation in 2017. The second stadium to use the Arc platform was U.S. Bank Stadium, who achieved their LEED Platinum Certification in July 2019.

While there have been other sport facilities that have become LEED certified, they have not done so using the Arc platform. For both Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium, continuous improvement is a vital piece of their sustainable operations, and the Arc platform gives operators the ability to monitor improvement on a month to month basis instead the standard LEED Certification which does not. As a result, by using LEED Performance Path/Arc, facilities are well set up to make operation decisions that will not just improve environmental performance but can also [positively affect the overall triple bottom line.

Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) has experience providing LEED consulting for sport facilities at any level of operations and maintenance. U.S. Bank Stadium (LEED Platinum) and Target Field (LEED Gold) are both clients of SIG and are two of the most sustainable stadiums in the country. If your facility has interest in pursuing LEED or just to become more sustainable, please visit our website. Sustainable Investment Group provides Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consulting, LEED Exam Prep Training, Green Building Consulting and Technical Services from our offices in Atlanta, GA; Boulder, CO; Minneapolis, MN: New York, NY and San Francisco, CA.


Photo Credits:
1) U.S. Bank Stadium: by Bradley Vogel, Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
2) Target Field: by JL1Row – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15713503

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