It hasn’t taken long for sports organizations and athletes to set and meet ambitious goals to go green. Members of the Green Sports Alliance, which boasts some 500 professional and collegiate leagues, teams, venues, vendors, and athletes, takes the stance that if it’s good for the environment and good for the community, it’s going to be good for business. Among those nearly 500 organizations, here are a few examples:
NASCAR's Pocono Raceway: "If it can be done, it will be done."
Few Americans would make a ready link between environmental sustainability and auto racing, but NASCAR is serious about it. Consider Pocono’s "Tricky Triangle." It’s the first major American venue to run entirely on solar – the solar farm that powers it sits next to the track. The solar farm has already produced over 24 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) and is expected to generate over 72 million kWh during its first 20 years of operation. To date, Pocono Raceway’s solar farm has offset over 16,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 3,600 passenger vehicles. Biofuel powers the racecar engines that are lubricated with recycled oils and fluids. And Nascar’s green commitment doesn’t stop on the track.
Raceways like Pocono face a recycling problem unique to the sport: what to do with all those tires; just a single race can go through 600. But these disposables are reborn to new life in ways you’ve come across without even knowing it: the portable speed bump you drive over, the anti-fatigue mat you stand on while you cook, the friendly playground surface where your kids play without scrapes all come from ‘crumb rubber,’ the recycled residue from used tires. Even the paint on your automobile may include material that once competed for the checkered flag.
Keeping cool at the Golden 1 Center is a breeze.
Before even starting conceptual drawings for their 17,500-seat sports venue, the Sacramento Kings surveyed Sacramento residents to find out what they wanted in an arena. This fully solar-powered, LEED-Platinum gem in the heart of California’s Central Valley is the result. Golden 1 Center also seats 19,000 music fans for a full array of concerts. Among its many innovations, and one of its most distinctive features are the 50-foot-high glass hangar doors. They open to take advantage of Sacramento’s delta breeze, creating natural cooling in a city where outdoor temperatures can top 100 degrees. Dedicated vents pipe in cool air directly under arena seating. Energy use in the Golden 1 Center is reduced by 30% over California Title 24 code, so that there are 2,000 fewer tons of annual carbon emissions, and a 45% reduction in water use is also well above California code.
The fertile farmland of the Central Valley supports Golden 1 Center’s 10-point Farm-to-Court philosophy regarding food service. A full 90% of their ingredients come from within a 150 mile radius. What isn’t served to fans and guests goes to the Sacramento Food Bank; any food waste gets processed into fertilizer that nourishes the soil at local farms.