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Environment & Science

NRDC report argues greening efforts yield greenbacks, highlights LA's Staples Center

Pac Bell Park has beautiful lighting, and it's energy saving at that. Go Giants!
Pac Bell Park has beautiful lighting, and it's energy saving at that. Go Giants!
It's Danno!/Flickr

Want a distraction from your fantasy football draft results? The Natural Resources Defense Council has you covered. This week the environmental advocates have released a new report, “Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment.” 

According to the NRDC, the league that’s measuring its environmental impacts the best is Major League Baseball; I can’t bring myself to quote from Bud Selig on this, but rest assured he says that he wants MLB’s greening efforts so far to set an example for others. The report gives props to the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association, too. 

Virtually all teams have developed or are developing recycling and or composting programs.  Most major events, including the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, the MLS Cup, the NBA playoffs, and the U.S. Open green their planning and operations.

My Giants’ Pac Bell Park is one of 15 parks that have earned LEED green building design certifications; the park is LEED silver. (It saves 30 to 50 percent of its water use through an irrigation clock.)

But LA’s Staples Center gets plenty of kudos, too. All of its paper products are recycled. Conservation has reduced energy use 12 percent. Solar panels contribute 5 to 20 percent of the arena's power. Waterless urinals save 7 million gallons of water a year (I haven’tverified this personally).

Biggest news to me from this report? That AEG’s management is reviewing contracts for bike valet programs for major events. (Oldest news is how little goes on in the green space for the NFL.) 

It may be a little surprising that NRDC is giving props to Staples Center, if you only remember the headlines about the same group’s concerns about AEG’s environmental impact report for Farmer’s Field. But in expressing concerns about transportation and carbon impacts from a new football field, NRDC did applaud what Staples Center did already; it simply also asked for more.

The NRDC studiously avoids ranking teams or venues – a bit of an indicator that quantifying what’s going on might reveal just how much isn’t yet happening. But as the report points out, “the sports greening movement has brought important environmental messages to millions of fans worldwide.” The report’s really aimed at sports teams that aren’t yet making themselves friends of the environment. NRDC argues the experience of venues like AEG’s Staples Center proves the business case for going green.

Got anything you’d like to see Staples Center (or Farmer’s Field) do for the environment? Or tips for picking up waiver wire wide receivers? I’d love to hear ‘em below.