The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Philadelphia Eagles announced today that Lincoln Financial Field has become LEED Gold certified. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by USGBC, is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
"Reaching LEED Gold status is a tremendous accomplishment for our organization," said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. "Since opening Lincoln Financial Field in 2003, we have been steadfast in our commitment to sustainable business practices. The LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council is another proof point of the many positive steps we have taken in this important area. We hope that our continued efforts in this space inspire other organizations to adopt and embrace sustainable management practices, including green energy production, water and energy conservation, recycling and composting."
Lincoln Financial Field achieved LEED Gold certiﬁcation for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy eﬃciency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The organization tracked its performance in Arc, a state-of-the-art digital platform that benchmarks and measures sustainability impact. Lincoln Financial Field initially certified LEED Silver in 2013.
"The work of innovative building projects such as Lincoln Financial Field is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way buildings are built, designed and operated," said Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC President and CEO. "Buildings that achieve LEED certiﬁcation are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment and reducing operating costs while prioritizing sustainable practices. Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles and Lincoln Financial Field, we are increasing the number of green buildings and getting closer to USGBC's goal to outpace conventional buildings, while being environmentally and socially responsible and improving the quality of life for generations to come."
The Eagles developed their robust Go Green program in 2003 with the opening of Lincoln Financial Field. What started out with blue recycling bins under each employee's desk has transformed into a company-wide sustainability program that has the organization diverting more than 99% of waste from landfills and operating on 100% clean energy. The Eagles, with the help of their concessions provider Aramark, most recently phased out traditional plastic straws at both of their facilities – Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex – in an effort to reduce their environmental impact. The team now utilizes a plastic alternative made from 100% renewable resources that meets ASTM standards for compostability. The Eagles became the first team in the famed South Philadelphia sports complex to make the switch, eliminating the use of roughly 500,000 plastic straws annually. According to research, the number of straws used by Americans in a single day can circle the Earth two and a half times. Straws, which do not have the ability to biodegrade, are considered one of the top pollutants threatening our oceans and marine life today.
The Eagles place a strong emphasis on reducing their environmental footprint. For more than a decade, the team has integrated sustainable measures and procedures into every area of the organization:
Green Energy Production
• Lincoln Financial Field's solar/wind project, powered by NRG, features 14 wind turbines and 11,108 solar panels.
• The project produces around four megawatts of clean energy a year, which is roughly 33% of the stadium's annual energy usage and is six times the amount needed to power all 10 home games each season.
• The remaining energy is covered through the purchase of renewable energy credits, allowing the organization to be completely "off the grid."
• Began a power purchasing program in 2003 by buying green electric power. Six years later, in 2009, the team's entire operation was being powered by renewable energy.
Recycling & Composting
• Since 2003, the team's recycling and composting programs have diverted close to 4,000 tons of waste from landfills. That equates to 13 747 commercial airplanes.
• Installed two bio-digesters to help decompose pre-consumer food waste. Since installation, they have decomposed 43.9 tons (87,700+ pounds) of pre-consumer food waste.
• Installed a total of 15 water filtration fountains at both Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex, eliminating the use of more than 154,000 water bottles since 2015.
• Switched out lights around the stadium to LED and fluorescent light alternatives.
• Lights and HVAC have been tied to timers and sensors, preventing unnecessary energy usage.
• Cleaning products are made from environmentally friendly product lines.
• Beverage cups are made of corn, which keeps nearly 40,000 pounds of plastic out of landfills.
• Switched from plastic coffee stirrers to wood.
• Straws are made from polylactic acid (corn-based), which are completely renewable.
• Stadium carpets are made from recycled fibers and eco-friendly paint is used to coat the walls.
• With the help of The Conservation Fund, 100% of all team travel is offset through the "Go Zero" program, an endeavor that focuses on tree planting and reforestation funding.
• Created a 6.5 acre "Eagles Forest" in Bensalem, PA with the help of The Conservation Fund and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
• Since 2007, the team has planted more than 5,900 trees, which has offset 7,500 tons of CO2e.
• In June 2018, the Eagles became the first professional sports team to achieve ISO 20121 certification, which is an international standard designed to help organizations in the events and hospitality industry integrate sustainability into management practices and processes.
• Became the second NFL team to earn LEED Silver certification by USGBC in 2013.
• Presented with the 2013 Green Sports Alliance Environmental Leadership Award.
LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 95,600 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising more than 20.59 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 167 countries and territories.