This Fall has seen the baseball season come to a close with the culmination of a well-played World Series, the dropping of the puck starting the NHL’s hockey season, and the finals of the WNBA season.  What you may not know is that the World Series’ finalists, the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, the newest NHL team the Seattle Kraken, and Seattle’s 4-time WNBA Finalist team Seattle Storm all have a common theme – sustainable homes for their teams.

The 2021 World Series competitor and American League champion Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park is a retractable-roofed, natural grass playing field ballpark. The ballpark, which incorporates portions of Houston’s former Union Station which used to occupy the location, was built as a replacement for the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium ever built. Minute Maid Park composts its infield and outfield grass cuttings to use as fertilizer and uses only eco-friendly safe chemicals on the field, recycles all light bulbs used in the ballpark, uses automatic paper towel dispensers, uses paper products made from post-consumer recycled paper, recycles grease to be used as biofuel, has 125 recycle bins placed throughout the ballpark for fans to recycle plastic, aluminum, and cardboard,  and uses eco-friendly plastic bags at all ballpark merchandise locations.

The 2021 World Series champions Atlanta Braves call Truist Park home.  This LEED Silver certified park boasts the MLB’s largest canopy for optimal shade and weather protection. Additional green aspects of the park include high-efficiency LED lighting, low flow fixtures which reduced potable water use by 42 percent, an HVAC system to minimize the emission of ozone harmful compounds and extensive use of locally-sourced materials throughout the ballpark. Public transportation access within one-quarter mile of the stadium and facilities for electric and alternative fuel vehicles also contribute to a reduced carbon footprint for the venue.

The new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle opened its doors to the public last month, inaugurating its first season and that of its hockey team, the Seattle Kraken, and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. This multifunctional, 740,000-square-foot arena in the heart of Seattle Center is the region’s largest indoor venue.  It was designed with three goals: to create the most sustainable arena in the world, to cultivate the ultimate fan experience, and to responsibly revitalize and preserve the original design a historic landmark facility built for the 1962 World’s Fair by Paul Thiry, the father of architectural modernism in the Pacific Northwest.

Climate Pledge Arena’s name stems from its enlistment in The Climate Pledge, a global initiative that commits signatories to net-zero carbon across their businesses by 2040.  This transformational project is poised to become the first-ever net-zero carbon arena in the world and the first International Living Future Institute-certified net-zero carbon arena. 

Climate Pledge Arena employs numerous sustainable practices and operations. The arena relies solely on renewable energy sources — including on-site solar energy designed on the atrium roof — to power the facility and reducing all carbon emission activities and offsetting all those they can’t by purchasing credible carbon offsets. Climate Pledge Arena features water bottle filling stations throughout the facility, has aggressive zero waste initiatives, and uses a variety of water conservation systems such as harvesting rainwater from the roof and using waterless urinals and ultra-efficient showers.

The facility has a fully integrated transportation plan that subsidizes clean transit for fans by establishing electric vehicle charging stations and bike valet services, building strong connections with the monorail, and developing an enhanced pedestrian-focused plan. 

The arena boasts an immersive LED experience of more than 28,000 square feet of digital signage - the most in the world for a sports and entertainment venue - which displays wayfinding, events and partner promotion, and atmospheric imagery that is customizable for each event. There are also LED activations on the main concourse. 

Climate Pledge Arena showcases a 200-foot living wall with live plants and also preserves 67 London Plane trees that hold landmark status from the 1962 World’s Fair to  maintain a massive canopy on the site, aid in carbon capture, and connect it with the surrounding neighborhoods.

No matter your sport or your team, everyone can root for these sustainable venues which set a new bar for the global sports and events industry.