Department of Energy

Game On: DOE Initiative Supports Leadership in Sports Venues

August 29, 2016

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Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz takes a slap shot at Boston College's Conte Forum to promote green sports arenas. | Photo by Simon Edelman, Energy Department.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz takes a slap shot at Boston College's Conte Forum to promote green sports arenas. | Photo by Simon Edelman, Energy Department.

They are the places where amazing happens. Where we hear the roar of the crowd. Where our hearts are lifted, and yes, sometimes shattered. They are the professional and collegiate stadiums and arenas that play host to the sports we love and are found in every part of the country.  These special places make for a magnificent setting to watch and root for our various sport teams, yet also often stand out as iconic buildings representing proud, highly recognizable silhouettes in their respective city’s skyline.

For the past several years, the sports community has realized the importance of taking action on clean energy and is now playing an increasing leadership role on sustainability. And for many of the sports teams and leagues, these efforts have started with the stadiums. Today, there are about 30 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certified sports venues that have been completed, or are currently in the construction phase according the U.S. Green Building Council. Even more have implemented energy efficiency projects and other resource conservation efforts to significantly reduce their environmental footprints. The leading efforts of these stadiums, and the many millions of people they reach, clearly reverberate throughout the community.

That’s why last March, DOE initiated an effort focused on better understanding the unique challenges faced by sports venues when it comes to saving energy and water.

In a first-of-its-kind collaborative effort, DOE teamed up with a group of esteemed partners – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Green Sports Alliance (GSA), and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) – to catalyze clean energy opportunities in these venerable sport venues.

This week, our collaboration takes a significant step forward – DOE and its partners released the Survey on Energy and Water Efficiency of Stadiums and Arenas for sports venue owners and operators regarding their facilities' energy and water usage.  While this survey will provide important information to better identify opportunities to reduce energy and water use, it will also be used as the foundation for creating a potential ENERGY STAR® score and certification specifically designed for sports venues.

Over the past two decades, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program has helped consumers and building owners identify top-performing products and buildings that have led to improvements in energy and water use nationwide.  Now, with this outreach to stadium and arena owners and operators, there is an opportunity to develop an ENERGY STAR® score that would allow them to see how well their venues compare against their peers when it comes to energy and water use.  In other words, a score will help this building type better get in the game. 

Just a few weeks ago, the White House hosted a roundtable on Sports & Climate where similar energy opportunities and challenges were addressed. The event brought together current and former collegiate, professional and Olympic athletes to discuss how climate change is impacting the world of sports.  Many of the speakers at the Roundtable, including a keynote address by Secretary Moniz, noted the inextricable link between the future of sports and a changing climate. The Roundtable underscored that everyone has a role to play.  DOE, for its part, will continue to lead on science and technology, making crucial investments to drive energy innovation, support new research, and demonstrate new energy efficiency solutions that can help protect the future of sports. 

In addition, DOE will continue to support sports teams and their owners as they explore new opportunities to advance facilities that are built to incorporate energy efficient strategies and technologies that help accelerate clean energy, protect the environment, increase resilience, save money, and inspire and encourage sports fans across the globe to do the same.