MetLife Stadium, host to Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII is a champion in its own right. Built to replace the aging Giants Stadium it was built with energy efficiency in mind. The environmental efforts that the ownership group agreed to in 2009 resulted in MetLife Stadium being recognized as being one of the greenest sports stadia in America.
Since opening its doors in 2010, MetLife Stadium has saved an estimated $19,900,000 in operating expenses. Its carbon footprint was reduced by 234,834 metric ton carbon dioxide equivalent which is equivalent to CO2 emissions from the energy used to power 12,086 homes for one year.
How did MetLife attain these savings?
For starters, the savings began at the start — with construction. “From the first planning stages of this project, we were committed to designing, building and operating a stadium that would be as environmentally friendly and responsible as possible,” said John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants at a media event in 2009.
In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stadium ownership agreed to use 40,000 tons of recycled steel to build the stadium as well as recycling 20,000 tons of steel when Giants Stadium was demolished; environmentally-friendly concrete was used in construction; seats were partially made from recycled plastic and scrap iron; to name but a few of the highlights in construction.
It's one thing to agree to sustainable development measures and quite another to follow through. The MOU called for progress updates every six months to ensure that standards and objectives were being met. And every six months for three and a half years MetLife ownership sent its reports to the EPA. Based on the six reports submitted, the EPA quantified the benefits of the venue’s environmental efforts. MetLife continues to file annual reports with the EPA beyond the scope of the original MOU.
In 2012, the stadium undertook 40 capital improvement projects including the construction on a solar ring along the perimeter of the top of MetLife stadium. The ring is the first of its kind for a sports stadium and can generate 350,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually which represents 20 percent of non-game-day power. Through recycling efforts the stadium has also diverted 39 percent of materials from the waste stream.
As far as efforts to green the 2014 Super Bowl, MetLife Stadium has vowed that this year's Super Bowl will be the greenest Super Bowl ever. A commitment that is shared by the NFL. "We try and stay ahead of the curve," said Jack Groh, a consultant who directs the NFL's environmental programs. "We try and push the envelope every year."
It will take about 18 megawatts of electricity to power the entire Meadowlands complex for the Big Game. As much as six megawatts of that energy could come from bio diesel fueled generators. Another first for the Super Bowl will see the composting of approximately eight tons of game day food waste.
To date, MetLife Stadium's environment efforts have earned it many accolades including, the title as the top Energy Efficient Football stadium by the Alliance to Save Energy and team owners were honored by the Natural Resource Defense Council in 2013 as environmental leaders in professional sports.
Regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl XLVIII between Denver and Seattle the other big winner is the environment.