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Solar Canopy Gives Green Edge to New England Patriots

new solar canopy at patriot placeThe National Football League has been falling all over itself in a fierce competition to see which team can lay claim to the most sustainability cred, and it seems like this week’s winner is the New England Patriots. Not only is the team’s Gillette Stadium an early adopter of sustainability initiatives, but the adjacent Patriot Place retail destination is getting a solar makeover, too.

A solar shade canopy for Patriot Place

Patriot Place is touting a “futuristic” new solar canopy as the showpiece of the new installation. The canopy doubles as shade and weather protection for outdoor walkways, which anchors the whole complex to the concept of sustainable energy.

That  just goes to show how much value today’s retail sector is putting on high-visibility alternative energy installations. Despite the best efforts of organizations like the Heartland Institute to frame climate awareness as the belief system of the criminally insane, savvy investors have found that mass market America finds the whole idea of clean, reliable, low risk energy to be rather appealing.

Getting more sustainable bang for the buck

Investors are also tuning in to the fact that sustainable energy can provide a way to squeeze extra dollars from a property without disrupting existing operations – something not possible with fossil fuel harvesting. That’s why you see solar installations popping up all over the NFL (another good example is the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field) as well as other pro sports venues including baseball, hockey and the NASCAR circuit.

For Patriot Place, the new solar canopy is just part of a larger series of solar installations that began in 2009 and includes standard rooftop solar panels, in partnership with NRG Energy.

When completed by the start of the 2012-2013 football series, the total output of the solar installations will be about 1.1 million kilowatt hours annually and will provide about 60 percent of the electricity used by Patriot Place.

That pretty much rounds out an overall sustainability plan by Patriot Place, which was built mainly over existing parking lots and includes cooling white roofs among other energy conservation features.

As for Gillette Stadium, team owner the Kraft Group was ahead of the sustainability game when it built the stadium in 2002. The new stadium won a merit award from the EPA for avoiding some of the unsustainable construction and design issues that plagued the team’s former home.

The new stadium includes graywater recycling, a smart electrical system and other conservation elements.

Image: Courtesy of Patriot Place.

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.


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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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