On Sunday, February 2, 2014, Super Bowl XLVIII will go down in history as the greenest such event ever. Everything from energy to food will be green at this year’s Super Bowl and the stadium boasts extensive use of recycled materials. There was also an e-waste recycling initiative in the region to help green the event. There is even a green element to the advertising this year.
There are both practical and symbolic implications of this effort. Such initiatives help to raise awareness with people who otherwise may be nonplussed by sustainability. It will also significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the world’s largest single sporting event.
Super Bowl XLIII marks the 16th consecutive year that the NFL has incorporated environmental projects into the management of a professional championship event.
The Environmental Program is about far more than building a green image. This event is about actually addressing environmental impacts cost effectively and leaving a permanent environmental legacy in the host community.Super Bowl events have engaged a wide variety of green initiatives included incorporating hybrid vehicles and offsetting travel emissions for both teams and NFL staff and officials. Super Bowl XLlll is no exception and it will rank as the greenest championship event ever.
A ring of solar panels encircle the event venue, Met Life Stadium (MLS). These solar panels provide electricity equivalent to 34 average homes’ annual energy consumption. Green power for the game will also be provided by Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) who is working in partnership with the NFL Environmental Program. PSEG will retire one renewable energy credit (REC) for every megawatt hour of electricity used. This includes the power used at MLS, team hotels and the Super Bowl Boulevard event.
A renewable energy credit (sometimes referred to as a renewable energy certificate or “greentag”) is defined as “an environmental commodity that represents the added value, environmental benefits and cost of renewable energy above conventional methods of producing electricity, namely burning coal and natural gas. RECs help wind farms and other renewable energy facilities grow by making them more financially viable, thereby incentivizing development.”
PSEG’s REC purchase will include New Jersey solar renewable energy credits and Community Energy, a certified Green-e Supplier, sourced from the Jersey – Atlantic City Wind Farm.
The food for the XLVIII Super Bowl will be the “greenest in history.” MLS and foodservice partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice are the first Certified Green Restaurant stadium as awarded by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). They received a 2-star certification from the GRA. No other stadium in the world has achieved Certified Green Restaurant status and this is the largest food service operation ever to receive such certification. This is quite a feat given that there will be more than 200 on-site restaurants servicing up to 100,000 people in a day.
The GRA started in 1990 with the goal of reducing restaurants’ harmful effects on the environment. MetLife Stadium kiosks and food courts were evaluated using a certification system with seven categories: energy, chemical and pollution reduction, food, waste, water, disposables and furnishings and building materials.
A summary of their green food accomplishments include:
All waste kitchen oil is being converted to biodiesel fuel
Composting all kitchen scraps
Donating all leftover food
Recycling cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminum, and paper
Use of Energy Star equipment
Installation of waterless urinals, touchless sensor faucets, 1/2 gallon faucet aerators, and low-water landscaping
Eliminating all polystyrene foam containers
In addition to energy and food, the venue for this year’s Super Bowl also incorporates recycled steel. A total of 40,000 tons of recycled steel went into the construction of the stadium, according to the building’s website. Recyclers took 84 percent of the stadium’s construction waste.
Recycling of e-Waste
A partnership between NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, the NFL, Verizon and the Broadway Green Alliance has collected and recycled electronic waste in New York and New Jersey as part of a series of sustainability initiatives aimed at “greening” the Super Bowl and making a positive environmental impact in New York and New Jersey.
Even Super Bowl advertising went green. Northern Minnesota egg farm, Locally Laid, was the runner up in a contest staged by Intuit which awarded the winner an expensive ($3 million) and highly coveted 30 second advertising spot. The winner was a toy company called GoldieBlox, whose mission is to encourage female engineers, and perhaps even help to support women who will one day in the future help us to manage the environmental crisis we face.
The GoldieBlox ad is scheduled to run in the third quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast.