Greening the Gridiron: The Philadelphia Eagles Score with Renewable Energy

This Thanksgiving while you are enjoying your heritage breed turkey and sitting down to watch a football game, you'll be happy to note that professional sports teams are continuing to implement sustainability plans for their stadiums.

Last week, between thrashing the Washington Redskins and pulling off a victory against the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles unveiled an ambitious plan to use renewable energy at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles' stadium will be the world’s first major sports complex to convert entirely to self-generated renewable energy. The design incorporates 2,500 solar panels on the stadium’s facade, 80 twenty-foot spiral-shaped wind turbines and an on-site cogeneration plant. The $30 million plan will employ 200 local people over the next year.

The Eagles' announcement is just the latest in the trend toward greener stadiums. Two years ago the Boston Red Sox installed a solar hot water system at the nearly 100 year-old Fenway Park. And just before winning the World Series, the San Francisco Giants announced a partnership with a solar company at their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified ballpark.

In September, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced that all of the major professional sports leagues sent letters to each of their teams encouraging the adoption of solar energy at their facilities. Accompanying that statement, NRDC and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation released a guide that outlines and facilitates the process for installing solar electric at stadiums and arenas.

Beyond energy, professional team stadiums are now becoming more water efficient and initiating recycling programs, and one college gridiron is even hosting a farmers' market. And how about this: at the New York Mets' field you can get local beer on tap made using 100% windpower. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving, Ecocentric readers—enjoy the games and the turkey!