How Green Is Your New York (New Jersey) Sports Team?

PART I OF AN OCCASIONAL GREENSPORTSBLOG SERIES ON THE GREEN-NESS (OR LACK THEROF) OF THE MAJOR NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY SPORTS STADIA-ARENAS

After a drought in new stadium/arena construction in the New York City area from 1981 to 2007, the 6 years from ’07 to ’12 saw an explosion in new sports palaces.  A combination of aging facilities (Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium), the desire to bring teams closer to urban population hubs (Barclay’s Center in downtown Brooklyn, Prudential Center in downtown Newark) and the need for more luxury box-based revenue (MetLife Stadium) fueled the boom.

Between the opening of the now-obsolete Izod Center (nee Continental Arena, nee Brendan Byrne Arena) in 1981 and the current era, stadium construction, like most other types of building projects, went green.  Washington, DC’s Nationals Park, opened in 2008, was the first LEED-certified major league stadium in the US and many other LEED projects have followed suit.

While none of the 6 stadiums/arenas built in the NYC-NJ area since 2007 were built to LEED standards, 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 first of the 6, the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.  Opened in 2007, “The Rock” is home to the NHL’s Devils, Seton Hall basketball and many other events.

Its location in downtown Newark served as a major greening advance from the Devils’ prior home at the Izod Center in the Meadowlands, which until 2010, was not served by any rail transport (train service from Secaucus now deposits fans at MetLife Stadium and Izod).  The Rock is a short walk from Newark’s Penn Station, and thus accessible to fans via NJ Transit, Amtrak and PATH.  It is estimated that 35-40% of fans take public transport to Prudential Center, a significant improvement over the Meadowlands.

The greenest aspect of the Prudential Center is also is most visually appealing–the transparent glass exterior that rings the building.  The designers used a state-of-the-art (at the time) high-performance, energy efficient glass product that keeps the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  It also maximizes natural light (the lobbies are incredibly bright) which minimizes the need for artificial illumination for day games.

What’s not clear is how much/whether other LEED protocols (i.e. use of local materials, storm water capture, etc) were part of the Prudential Center’s construction; I’ve not heard back from the Devils.  If/when I do, you’ll be the first to know.

The next installment of this series (not sure when it will be) will focus on the new baseball stadiums in the area, CitiField in Flushing and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

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