When the Super Bowl kicks off Sunday, it’s going to be at the greenest stadium in the United States.
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California includes three solar-paneled pedestrian bridges and a solar-paneled roof deck; features a 27,000 square foot green roof on top of its suite tower; and uses reclaimed water for both drinking and for things like irrigating the playing field.
The wood paneling the inside of the owners’ suites is reclaimed from a local airplane hanger at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.
Levi’s is the first professional football stadium to gain LEED Gold certification.
Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, NGR Energy, installed the more than 1,150 solar panels at the stadium, which can produce 375 kilowatts of power.
The system is strong enough to generate enough power in one year to meet the electricity demand for every San Francisco 49ers’ home game.
“NRG was a true partner with us in building this stadium,” said Ethan Casson, 49ers chief revenue officer. “We could not have achieved LEED Gold certification without them.”
San Jose-based SunPower built all of the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for Levi’s — 544 on the stadium roof and another 642 on the NRG Energy Bridges, footbridges for fans that connect a main parking area to the stadium. In addition to producing power, the solar panels act as a shade canopy for the bridges and terrace.
In 2015, nearly a third of the NFL teams played or trained at stadiums with on-site solar assets consisting of 8,000 solar PV panels, generating more than 10 million kilowatt-hours per year.
New systems are currently under contract with the Baltimore Ravens and one is in the planning for the Atlanta Falcons.
"It's a movement across the country—become more sustainable,” said Al Guido, 49ers chief operating officer. “And stadiums have to do their part. But we wanted to be functionally green, not just green for green's sake.”
The architecture firm HNTB, headquartered in Kansas City, designed the $1.2 billion venue that seats approximately 68,500 people.
A 2013 paper in the journal Sustainability looked at the green content of Canadian sports stadiums and found that it varied from place to place.
BC Place in Vancouver, for instance, purchases carbon offsets, while Montreal’s Bell Centre achieved LEED silver status in 2009.