Partnership Aims For More LEED-Certified College Stadiums

College football is just around the corner. I spent my formidable years in the South, where college football is more of a religion than a sport. On game day, more than 100,000 fans crammed themselves into the stadium of my alma mater to cheer on the home team. This type of enthusiasm makes an obvious impact on the game, but fewer realize the impact on the environment.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a partnership with the Green Sports Alliance that will support the development of green building initiatives in professional and collegiate sports. Twenty-five professional sports stadiums around the country already boast LEED certification, saving millions in energy costs, and the newly formed partnership aims to bring that efficiency to the college level as well.

The first order of business for the new initiative has been a toolkit focused on advancing green schools through sports. The USGBC will be joining the Green Sports Alliance at the 2013 Green Sports Alliance Summit in NYC, August 26-28.

The environmental-friendliness of a particular college or University has become an increasingly important factor for high school seniors choosing the next step in their education. As evidenced by the Sierra Club’s recently list of Top 10 “Cool Schools” colleges are brandishing their green building, sustainable agriculture, and energy-saving technology as prominent marketing tools.

Now it appears that sustainability is climbing out of the classroom and into the stands.

“Sports fans stepping into LEED-certified arenas, stadiums, ballparks and more experience the benefits of green building firsthand with water conservation, energy efficiency and responsible waste management,” said Rhiannon Jacobsen, director of strategic accounts, USGBC. “It was a natural fit for USGBC to partner with the Green Sports Alliance, which is dedicated to making professional sports healthier and more sustainable.”

Visit GBIG.org to see a collection of professional sports venues, explore individual projects, find the most recent certifications or see a map of projects.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog