Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Efficiency and Recycling at the Super Bowl

By Kate Galbraith

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., will be managing its energy use, and recycling much of its trash as part of Super Bowl festivities. (Photo: Getty Images)

When Super Bowl XLIII kicks off this evening in Tampa Bay, officials at Raymond James Stadium are ready to showcase not just football, but energy efficiency and recycling.

Over the past five years, efficiency measures like smarter use of chillers and better lighting have saved the stadium $580,000, officials estimated. (That’s roughly the price of 300 low-end Super Bowl tickets available Friday for resale on Stub Hub.)

The stadium’s electric bill has risen by just 23 percent in five years, better than the average increases of 42 percent.

“Those are things that the fan doesn’t really notice or see, but we’re certainly making a big impact on the bottom line,” said Mickey Farrell, the director of the stadium operations, who has been working with Johnson Controls, a company specialized in energy efficiency, to put in state-of-the-art efficiency systems — including L.E.D. lighting, which is now used in some of the stadium’s colorful displays.

One particular challenge, Mr. Farrell said, is Tampa Bay’s humid climate. The goal is to use the “least amount of power we possibly can to make sure the humidity is controlled,” he added.

Recycling and composting are also being deployed on game day. Plates, napkins and even forks and straws are supposed to be biodegradable — and cooking grease is to be recycled. Plastic drink bottles will also be recycled, stadium officials said.

Other stadiums have made an effort to go green, too. Last month, I reported on the composting efforts at the University of Colorado’s football games.

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