PART 5 OF AN OCCASIONAL, 6 PART GREENSPORTSBLOG SERIES ON THE GREEN-NESS (OR LACK THEROF) OF THE MAJOR NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY SPORTS STADIA-ARENAS CONSTRUCTED SINCE 2008
After a nearly 30 year drought in new stadium/arena building in the New York City area from 1981 to 2007, an explosion in the construction of new ballparks has ensued. I thought it would be interesting to look at each to see how green they are (or aren’t). Today’s column looks at the 5th of the 6, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, home of the both the New York Giants and my J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!. Click here for Part 1, which examined Newark’s Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s Devils; here for Part 2, which took a look at Citi Field, home of the Mets; here for Part 3, featuring the new Yankee Stadium and here and here for our two-part story on Red Bull Arena.
MetLife Stadium Exterior before a Giants game
MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010, has two color schemes; blue, when the Giants (aka Big Blue) are playing, and green, when the Jets (aka Gang Green) are the home squad. Big Blue has, sadly, had the upper hand on the field, winning the 2012 Super Bowl while the Jets are better known for the Tebow Debacle and butt-fumbling. But, in terms of construction and operations, the operative color for MetLife Stadium is most definitely GREEN.
MetLife Stadium, Jets GameDay
First of all, the mere fact that the Jets and Giants share the stadium is about as green as it gets. If the Jets built their own stadium, as most of their fans (but not this one) wanted, that would’ve meant double the climate change-causing emissions and pollution.
MetLife, while not LEED Certified, is the most technologically green of the 5 facilities examined by GSB to date (Barclay’s Center, the 6th and final arena constructed in the NY-NJ area since 2008, did achieve LEED certification).
Sustainability was an integral element of the construction process: The New Meadowlands Stadium Corporation (NMSC) and the EPA signed an agreement that outlined plans to incorporate environmentally-friendly materials and practices into the construction and operation of MetLife Stadium. Strategies to reduce air pollution, conserve water and energy, improve waste management, and reduce the environmental impact of construction were front and center.
AIR POLLUTION REDUCTION
- The biggest air pollution reducer was the construction of a NJ Transit train spur to MetLife Stadium. 10,000 fans (capacity 82,000+) use the train that takes 25 minutes from Penn Station in NYC, which means about 2-3,000 fewer cars on the road.
- During construction, vehicles used clean diesel and low sulfur fuels and minimized idle times, resulting in a 13% particulate materials reduction. The use of diesel particulate filters led to an 80-90% particulate materials reduction.
- MetLife Stadium, while twice as big as its predecessor and neighbor, Giants Stadium, uses nearly 11,000,000 gallons (25%) less water. Here, in part, is how:
- Decomposed granite, equal to 4 football fields, was used in medians to reduce watering needs, saving approximately 2 million gallons of water per year.
- Use of synthetic turf as opposed to natural grass for the MetLife playing field resulted in a savings of 3.5 million gallons of water per year.
- Waterless urinals used throughout the men’s rooms at MetLife save 2.7 million gallons of water.
- Switching to native planting species and high-efficiency irrigation compared to conventional irrigation systems that were used at the old stadium resulted in a saving of 700,000 gallons of water annually.
- And MetLife is using 30% less energy than Giants Stadium:
- 1,350 solar panels, installed by NRG, power the LED light ring at MetLife
- Energy-Star compliant concession equipment, heating cooling and ventilation systems, and lighting, which use 25-50% less energy.
- Automated lighting control system and high efficiency tube and compact fluorescents in all stadium light fixtures.
- Energy efficient Low E coating/glazing of windows.
- 51% better as an insulator; 24% better at reducing heat gain than in the old stadium,
IMPROVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
MetLife Stadium reduced solid waste production during its operation vs. the waste produced at Giants Stadium by approximately 25% through recycling and composting:
- Installed recycling bins in the parking lots and in the stadium.
- Recycling and composting concessionaire’s waste streams
- Use of compostable serving items in the concessions, including concession plates, cups, cup holders/carriers, boats, etc.
REDUCE CONSTRUCTION-RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
The construction of MetLife Stadium used 40,000 tons of recycled steel:
- Half of that was from steel from Giants Stadium
- All 8,000+ piles were manufactured from steel scrap or salvage from unused piles from the petrochemical industry.
- Stadium seating is made of 20% post consumer plastics and 80% iron.
If I had been able to attend the MetLife Stadium tour given during the Green Sports Alliance Summit (went on the Red Bull Arena tour instead) I would’ve asked two questions: 1. Why, given all of the steps detailed above, did MetLife not achieve LEED Certification? 2. Is MetLife buying green electricity supply? If so, what percentage of its supply is from non-polluting sources? I am working on getting these questions answered and will report back with the results.
In the meantime, I can only hope that the performance of Gang Green in 2013 can come even close to approaching the Green performance of MetLife Stadium.