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Sports Industry Go Green


Sport Industry Goes Green with LEED

With the practice of cross-league green sports initiatives, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building standards and cutting-edge green technologies have become widely accepted within the sports industry!

With this in mind, teams, stadium owners and builders have all accepted the challenge of making a change for the better that’s for the good of the environment.

As LEED certification has been accepted and practiced in the sports industry, developers of stadiums, arenas and other sporting venues are pursuing the organisation’s approval in their effort to reduce costs, minimize a project’s ecological footprint and gain support from the community. However this isn’t easy, as new technologies push towards sustainability, green building certifications such as LEED are setting ever higher standards.

RAC Arena installed a solvent-free polyurethane protective coating, Deckshield UV. The coating offers an attractive, hardwearing, easily maintainable system, which incorporates a high level of slip resistance.

LEED certification has established itself as central to green building practices and the changing performance criteria of new buildings. This trend is evident in professional sports, where all leagues, conferences and associations now claim LEED certification. Colleges and university athletic programs are not far behind. In fact, programs are now set for greening within the NHL, NBA, MLB, USTA and MLS.

Owners want more, newer and better kinds of amenities in their stadiums and arenas, which adds to the cost. While the most recent stadiums are larger than the previous eras of venues, the difference in size isn’t vast. Seating capacities are often smaller, but the footprints are bigger. What there is more of is premium space that includes suites, club sections, bars, restaurants and other retail establishments. If a venue is to be renovated, the plan is normally to increase these premium space areas. Few fans spent time inside a stadium’s bar 20 years ago but today stadiums and arenas try to keep you captured and comfortable in these premium zones.

Relaxing bar area at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena.

A higher level of finish is apparent throughout the newest stadiums and there are a greater number of high-end spaces. New stadium construction now focuses on luxury finishes and expensive technology. The advent of roofs, retractable or fixed, and the larger building footprints have combined to add to the amount of steel and concrete used, which means higher materials and (especially with regard to concrete) labor costs.

Architectural, commercial, industrial and specialty coatings such as seamless polymer flooring systems have been developed, installed and applied to both new and rehabilitation projects supporting sustainability while producing environmentally and compliant materials. This means that rather than just focusing on environmental issues, all decision making considers the environment, social and economic impact of the suppliers’ materials, including how they are manufactured and supplied, in order to improve its contribution to addressing the important ecological issues society faces today.

Flowcrete provided a unique and sustainable Floorzone Solution for a £27m new-build sporting development named “The Peak”, located in Stirling, Scotland.

Therefore, it’s important to seek out suppliers and manufacturers committed to providing sustainable flooring solutions whilst using resources responsibly throughout the manufacturing process to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. Through the LEED Rating Program it’s important to seek out suppliers and manufacturers that endeavour to contribute to high performance Green Buildings and lead the field in the industry by making sustainability a corporate priority.

It just goes to show that what was state-of-the-art then is archaic now. Where will we be in regards to LEED and Sustainability in 20 years when looking at stadium and arena construction? If you’ve got a thought on this we’d love to hear it in the comments below!

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Tom Wunderlin

Tom Wunderlin is the Technical Sales Representative for the Mid-Atlantic at Flowcrete Americas - a leading manufacturer of seamless resin floor solutions. In this role Tom creates and fosters strong customer relationships to provide insights and information on resin flooring.

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