Ethan Heil

The LEED venue has taken actions to reduce waste while enhancing the occupant experience.

Members of the USGBC Northern California community were recently offered an exclusive tour of the LEED-certified home of the Golden State Warriors. Oracle Arena received certification under LEED for Operations and Maintenance (O+M) in 2015, no small feat for a 22,000-seat entertainment venue originally constructed in 1966.

A unique space with unique challenges

As the oldest basketball arena in the NBA, Oracle Arena faced a unique set of challenges and opportunities in its pursuit of LEED. Design and operational constraints were introduced by the arena’s need to remain flexible enough to host an NBA playoff basketball game, a Disney On Ice production or a sold-out Adele concert on any given night. This unpredictability and intense usage makes the arena’s conservation-oriented initiatives all the more impressive—enabling top-tier entertainment while minimizing water, energy and materials consumption. 

Reducing waste, maximizing value

By adopting a holistic view of sustainability at Oracle Arena, the operations and management team were able to unlock the triple-bottom-line benefits of LEED certification, enhancing the occupant experience while improving environmental and economic performance.

The arena’s parking lot LED lighting retrofit provides a prime illustration of this approach. By focusing on total value, the arena was able to provide better quality lighting and enhance safety while reducing energy consumption and utility costs by 70 percent. Similar results were realized with an interior LED lighting retrofit and a comprehensive water fixture replacement with low-flow aerators, toilets and urinals. This creative approach to maximizing value while promoting sustainability is evident in the arena’s achievement of all available LEED Innovation credits.

Enhancing the guest experience

Oracle Arena is a destination where tens of thousands converge to be awed and amazed. While an amazing venue in and of itself, the building’s intent is to take a back seat to the performance taking place in its core. For this reason, indoor environmental quality is of paramount importance. Oracle Arena’s operations and management team go to great lengths to ensure all visitors are comfortable, healthy and free from distractions.

In pursuit of these goals, the arena provides enhanced indoor air quality and employs a green cleaning regime with ionized water in lieu of harmful, volatile chemicals. These efforts complement more visible sustainability initiatives such as 100 percent post-consumer paper procurement, a strict green procurement program and aggressive recycling and composting initiatives to allow all visitors to the arena the opportunity to participate in a healthy, efficient and wholly sustainable experience.

Oracle Arena’s commitment to sustainability is not limited to LEED. Opportunities to enhance and integrate sustainability into the visitor experience are constantly being implemented. In the few years since achieving LEED certification, the arena has installed electric vehicle charging stations to promote cleaner commuting and introduced native, water-efficient plants installations to further reduce water consumption. This helps ensure that in drought-prone California, all excess splashing is limited to the Warriors' home court.

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