Marking the occasion of the first Green Sports Day on Oct. 6, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy highlighted a group of federal and private initiatives intended to help mitigate the effects of climate change through sports and recreation.
The OSTP used the Atlanta Falcons' new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as an example of sustainability and green building in the construction and management of a major sports facility. The venue will be the first LEED Platinum–certified stadium and the first sports facility to earn all of LEED's water credits.
- The White House said in a press release that sports participants, fans and their facilities were particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change and that teams, players and sports-related organizations are playing a critical role in public education and engagement.
The initiatives called out by the OSTP include the State Department's sponsorship of five sports programs in 2017 and 2018 that will travel internationally to engage communities around green practices including recycling, planting trees and sourcing local food. Additionally, the Green Sports Alliance will launch a new program in January 2017 to motivate teams, leagues and facilities to reduce their energy consumption.
The Sacramento Kings have partnered with the Green Sports Alliance, which will counsel the team on sustainability. The Kings' new $557 million Golden 1 Center is the world's first LEED Platinum–certified indoor sports venue and the first professional sports arena using 100% solar energy for power. The AECOM-designed venue is in the top 3% of LEED-certified structures and scored the most points through the standard for any sports facility in the world.
The U.S. Green Building Council, which runs the LEED program, said there are at least 30 LEED-certified sports venues and more coming online, like the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Some of the features leading to its LEED Platinum status include solar-powered electric-vehicle charging stations and enough solar panels (4,000) to power 160 homes in Atlanta. The team will also buy Water Restoration Credits from the Flint River in Georgia in an effort to help restore natural water systems and watersheds.