Leveraging the Cultural Influence of Sports to Advance Green Building
Culture has been influenced by the sporting world for decades. Throughout the 20th century, fans mobilized around athletes to oppose war, support civil rights and promote disease awareness. The sports industry today is as influential as ever, with 58 percent of Americans self-identifying as sports fans, offering a robust platform for green building education and advocacy.
From Nationals Park to American Airlines Arena to Soldier Field, millions of fans visit LEED-certified sports venues every year. They experience the benefits of green building firsthand as they see water conservation, energy efficiency and responsible waste management in action.
Currently, 15 professional sports venues in the U.S. have been LEED-certified, and Matthew Knight Arena, home to the Oregon Ducks, recently became the first NCAA arena to achieve LEED Gold. Other venues across the country, serving many sports and levels of competition, have registered for LEED, including Santa Clara Stadium, the future home of the San Francisco 49ers.
As we further engage sports organizations and their fan communities, we’ve partnered with the Green Sports Alliance to combine our resources, connect our audiences and maximize our collective impact. In 2012 we brought together four professional teams in Seattle—the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders and Storm—to augment a school garden for the inaugural Green Apple Day of Service. Using our recently released toolkit (see below), teams across the country will be participating in the 2013 Green Apple Day of Service.
Moving forward, we will be working closely with the Green Sports Alliance to offer sports organizations the resources they need to run more healthful, economical and environmentally friendly programs in ways that educate their fans and permeate their communities.
As the sports industry plays a growing role in the green building movement, look for a stronger presence of athletes, teams and leagues among LEED users, Green Apple supporters and Greenbuild participants.