A Cold Yet Green Super Bowl In Jersey

The Jersey Super Bowl,  #XLVIII , announced it will be offsetting all energy usage surrounding the Big Game with a Jersey-based energy partner, PSE&G.

The Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event by far (108 million Americans watched SB XLVII a year ago, despite the half hour power outage), has proclaimed itself carbon neutral since the carbon emissions associated with 2005 game in Jacksonville were offset by the planting of 1,000 trees.  Since then, the NFL’s Super Bowl greening efforts have grown as the game and the events surrounding it have somehow gotten even bigger.

At the 2012 Super Bowl (XLVI) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Green Mountain Energy (GME) offset the emissions of not only the game itself, but also those of the Indiana Convention Center, site of the NFL Experience Football Theme Park, and of all four of the major NFL hotels.  Check out this infographic to get a sense of the impact of the NFL’s/GME’s greening efforts at SB XLVI. (Editor’s Note:  I have done consulting and sales work for GME).

While the upcoming Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands is gaining mega-attention because it 1. is the first cold weather Super Bowl ever, and 2. takes place on my birthday (GroundHog Day, February 2nd), the NFL’s greening efforts are also noteworthy.

SB XLVIII

All roads lead to Super Bowl XLVIII in the Meadowlands, Greened By PSE&G (Photo Credit: NY Sports Geeks)

This time around, the carbon generated by a Jersey Super Bowl is being offset by a Jersey company with renewable energy credits (RECs) that support Jersey wind-power and solar projects (hey, you got a problem with that?!?!).  According to a NJ.com story, the NFL is partnering with PSE&G to “offset all energy that will be used in the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and the week after at MetLife Stadium, as well as at the two Jersey City hotels that will be used by the Super Bowl teams. The NFL’s Super Bowl headquarters hotel in mid-Manhattan is also included in the agreement.”

PSE&G will buy the RECs to offset the carbon and, instead of being reimbursed by the NFL, will be compensated with outdoor advertising.  The company will use the incredible Super Bowl platform to highlight the success of the solar power industry in New Jersey–as of July, 2013, New Jersey ranked #4 in installed solar per capita, trailing only Arizona, Nevada and Hawai’i and ahead of sun splashed states New Mexico and California.  A strong rebate and tax credit regimen over many years has allowed New Jersey to take a leadership stake in US solar despite its less-than-optimal solar profile.

Solar Panels @ MetLife

Solar panels ring the roof of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, home of the first cold weather Super Bowl (Photo Credit: Skyscrapercity.com)

My hope/bet is that Fox, which is televising Super Bowl XLVIII, will not only highlight PSEG’s role in greening the game, but will also mention and/or show, the solar panels, installed by NRG (parent company of GME), that ring the roof of MetLife Stadium.  If that happens, despite the 99.99999% certainty that the Jets will not be playing in the Super Bowl for the XLVth straight year, I will have a very happy birthday indeed.

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7 thoughts on “A Cold Yet Green Super Bowl In Jersey”

  1. The only way the Jets will be at the Super Bowl is if owner/SB co-host Woody Johnson hooks them up with tickets. The NJ Solar story is a great one. You’d think Gov. Christie, who has a pretty high profile these days, would be talking it up. But he isn’t–at least not so far as I know. Why not?

  2. I also hope that the GREEN-ness of the Super Bowl will get some serious media coverage. It’s such a big event, that connecting the two is a boon to GREEN.

    As for Christie… he’s a big denier, so I won’t hold my breath about him. He’s unlikely to embrace even the good news about solar out of fear he’ll undermine his future in national politics. (Where oil is king.)

  3. Thanks for the comment, Candy. Christie is what I call a Denier-Light. He’s not an outright denier like, say, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) who says climate change is a “hoax”. Christie tries to fudge it (i.e. “the jury is not in”) so he can appear to be a denier to the hard right and appear to be open and reasonable to the middle. And he does just enough, policy-wise, to straddle (scrapping the much-needed additional train tunnel under the Hudson on the one hand, banning certain development in flood plains on the other). I’m more frustrated with the Christies of the world because they know better–and could really do something meaningful by being a GOPer on the “right” (left?) side of climate change. But, in the end, Christie’s tough guy image is just that because, with a chance to be tough on the hard right wing, he just takes a pass. The Inhofes of the world? They’re too far gone.

  4. Good point about the potential impact the media can have, particularly broadcast partners of the NFL and other big leagues. A little air time devoted to the greening efforts could go a long way to increasing awareness of sustainability measures being undertaken in the world of sports. Considering the Super Bowl, and the all-day pre-game shows, there would seem to be ample time to do at least a short feature. Or, taken further, they could partner with the leagues to engage the fan with green promotions, incentives and awareness programs. They are a powerful force and the direct conduit to the huge, passionate universe of fans who sit waiting, wanting to do their part.

    Walter Ife
    Fans Without Footprints

  5. I’d say that, with 6 hours of Super Bowl PreGame shows on TV + who knows how much online, Fox can certainly devote a couple of minutes to the NFL’s greening efforts. And, of course, they should be engaging fans on this issue.

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