Soldier Field and the Chicago Park District recently announced it has been awarded the status of LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Soldier Field is the first existing North American stadium to receive the award of LEED-EB Certification and the first NFL stadium to receive this prestigious award. LEED-EB stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “As one of the newest members of the LEED family of green buildings and the first NFL stadium in North America to achieve LEED for Existing Buildings certification, Soldier Field is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement and a prime example of what is possible.”
With nearly 9 billion square feet of building space participating in the suite of rating systems and 1.6 million feet certifying per day around the world, LEED is transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed and operated - from individual buildings and homes, to entire neighborhoods and communities. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Following the Soldier Field renovation and reopening in 2003, the implementation of many energy conservation and recycling programs were implemented along with the use of green cleaning chemicals and the reuse of materials (i.e. the soil removed from Soldier Field during a re-sodding is now being used in landscape projects along with being placed back in the fields where sod is harvested).
SMG, Soldier Field’s stadium management company, has paved the way to making the stadium one of the “greenest” stadiums in the world. “As we enter a new era with a focus on a global community, it is the responsibility of the Soldier Field family and its patrons to decrease the impact of the stadium on its environment through reusing and recycling materials whenever possible,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent, Mike Kelly. “We are encouraging and facilitating participation by patrons in the stadium’s greening initiatives to take an active role in reducing its carbon footprint. Only by educating and offering opportunities for staff and patrons to participate while visiting the stadium and the museums can we make a more positive impact on our community and environment.”
SMG is consistently implementing energy conservation measures that are beneficial to consumers and the stadium’s bottom line. Recent enhancements at Soldier Field include the addition of three electric vehicle charging stations in the North Parking Garage that are part of the Charge Point network to promote the use of energy efficient vehicles. The charging stations are free to users and can accommodate up to 6 vehicles at a time. In addition, stadium management replaced traditional lighting with energy saving LED up-lighting on the historic columns of the stadium that will not only dramatically lower the stadium’s annual energy consumption, but will also allow for the stadium to mark special occasions at the flip of a switch.
Soldier Field staff took advantage of SMG's Best Practice - Green I.M.P.A.C.T. and tailored a sustainability program unique to the historic venue. SMG Best Practices are intended to be used as templates by the over 230 venues under management in such a way as to borrow learned experiences from across the SMG portfolio. These Best Practices are templates that serve as guidelines. Solider Field staff customized the program to meet the very impressive goal of obtaining LEED-EB certification. Soldier Field is now the 8th SMG managed venue to achieve LEED certification with another four working towards LEED certification.
The Chicago Park District and SMG participated in the LEED process because it would provide an immediate and measurable impact on the buildings' performance. A LEED-certified building is designed to:
• Lower operating costs and increase asset value
• Reduce waste sent to landfills
• Conserve energy and water
• Be healthier and safer for occupants
• Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions
Moreover, the Chicago Park District and SMG’s participation in the voluntary and technically rigorous LEED process demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
About Soldier Field:
Soldier Field, Chicago’s premier event venue, hosts over 200 public and private events annually. The stadium is owned by the Chicago Park District and managed by SMG, the world leader in venue management, marketing and development. The Chicago Park District and SMG are proud of this additional step in its daily efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. Visit www.SoldierField.netor call to learn more about its greening initiatives.
Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 14 million square feet (1.4 million square meters) of exhibition space and more than 1.75 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, McCormick Place & Solider Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston's Reliant Park and the Louisiana Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 100 accounts worldwide. For more information visit www.smgworld.com.