The sports world is abuzz over the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision install a $30 million renewable energy system in their stadium, but sustainability is nothing new for the progressive football franchise. The Eagles established a Go Green program in 2003, way before it was cool. The stadium’s distinctive new spiral wind turbines, along with solar and cogeneration installations, will once again set a high bar for other sports venues to follow.
Philadelphia Eagles and Sustainability
Back in 2007, while many sports franchises were still merely mulling over the idea of introducing their fans to sustainability, the NFL was beginning to stake out a leadership position by purchasing renewable energy for the Superbowl. Even so, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Go Green program was already four years into its mission, which focused on education, conservation and recycling. In 2007, the team announced that it was upping the ante by getting at least 100 of its employees to purchase wind energy.
The New Lincoln Financial Field Sustainable Energy Installation
It will be hard to beat the Eagles new sustainable energy system, which is designed for high visibility. Built by the Florida-based company SolarBlue, it will consist of 80 futuristic-looking spiral shaped wind turbines rimming the top of the stadium, and 2,500 solar panels on the facade. The system will also include a 7.6 megawatt cogeneration plant along with a “smart microgrid” system to keep everything running at maximum efficiency.
Green is Green
Green means big bucks for the Eagles, because the system will generate 4 megawatts of excess energy off-peak, which will be sold back to the grid. The franchise also expects to save $60 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.
Sports and Sustainability
Not to sell other sports short, by the way. This year, Major League Baseball announced a comprehensive sustainability strategy, and the ski industry and golf industry are also charging ahead with conservation and renewable energy projects. Even NASCAR has begun to focus on shrinking its carbon footprint and reducing its use of toxic chemicals. Hey, if NASCAR is into it, what are all those politicians so afraid of?
Image: Spiral wind turbines courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.