New NHL Arena to Be Another Green Milestone

The green movement continues. Following on the heels of new environmental sustainability programs at the Empire State Building and Sears Tower, the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Sports & Exhibition Authority picked Earth Day to announce their goal of working toward LEED Gold Certification at the new $321 million Consol Energy Center, which is slated to be the first NHL arean to receive the Gold stamp from the U.S. Green Building Council.One other NHL arena is LEED certified, but it has elected to remain confidential, the Green Building Council’s Marie Coleman told CPN. “To date, there are now four professional sports complexes which have received LEED certification,” Coleman said. “Certainly this trend is growing quickly. The [MLB’s Washington] Nationals’ stadium in Washington, D.C., was the first professional sports complex to LEED certify.” Since then, several other sports teams have followed suit after seeing how “going green” can allow for savings on energy and resources and save money throughout the lifetime of the facility, Coleman added. Currently, there are 131 stadium/arena projects at all levels–college, professional, high school, etc. seeking LEED certification. “But professional sports can certainly see this as a way to attract more corporate sponsors who, too, share social responsibility policies,” Coleman added. “Also, pro sports arenas act as venues for all types of events: concerts, conventions, et cetera. So as multi-functional structures, it’s particularly important for them to conserve resources, incorporate sustainable maintenance policies and be a healthy space for those who patronize it. The benefits for professional sports to incorporate green building practices are immense.” The AT&T Center in San Antonio is among professional sporting arenas which will certify soon, she added. The Consol Energy Center is scheduled to be ready for the start of the 2010-2011 NHL season. “There is an NBA arena registered, but it has requested to be confidential. There are three NFL stadiums registered, one has requested to remain confidential. The other two NFL stadiums are the Meadowlands Stadium which is home to the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers’ stadium. For the MLB, the Minnesota Twins’ and Florida Marlins’ stadiums are registered. There are two other MLB parks that are registered, but are confidential,” Coleman said. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nationally-accepted standard for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. LEED ratings are based on a points system that measures such categories as energy and atmosphere, building materials and resources, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.