Quantcast
Popular
U.S. Bank Stadium

Super Bowl LII Tackles Sustainable Design

By Marlene Cimons

Early one December morning in 2010, the inflatable roof on the Minnesota Vikings' old stadium in Minneapolis ruptured and collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of wet snow. No one was hurt, but the incident was a wake-up call for the Vikings' front office. The team needed a new facility that could withstand the rigors of a Minnesota winter.


On Sunday, the stadium will be on full display as Minneapolis hosts Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The U.S. Bank Stadium, which replaced the old Metrodome in 2014, is built to endure the fiercest storms. And, because bitter cold outside makes it costly to keep the stadium warm inside, the venue also deploys an array of energy-saving features.

"We knew that the roof had to be strong enough to weather significant 100-year snow loads," said John Hutchings, who led the team at HKS Architects that designed the building. "No storm will collapse this roof." In addition to winning awards for its near-indestructible roof, the U.S. Bank Stadium earned a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for conserving energy.

Inside the U.S. Bank Stadium. Nic Lehoux

U.S. Bank Stadium's roof is treated with a special glaze that deflects sunlight, and helps to melt snow quickly. Its pitch is very sharp, which helps snow slide into large snow gutter—50 feet wide at its largest. The roof allows natural sunlight in, which helps the venue save money on lighting.

"The roof creates an ideal outdoor atmosphere inside the stadium," Hutchings said. "So much sunlight pours into the bowl that it's not unusual to see fans wearing sunglasses inside." The roof is the one of the stadium's most popular features.

"I think the daylight quality of the game really makes you feel like you're outside and creates a pretty good fan experience," said Richard Strong, an architect with the University of Minnesota's Center for Sustainable Building Research, which made sure the stadium followed state sustainability guidelines. "The balance between energy efficiency and the ability to have a lot of light is one of the things that stadium really achieved."

Vikings fans entering their stadium.Nic Lehoux

Most Vikings games are played when it is cold—usually below 45 degrees Fahrenheit—with temperatures that can plummet to less than -10. Heating typically makes up 50 percent of building energy use in this region, so stadium designers decided to use solar heating and capture heat in the facility as it rises, then recirculate it to the fans below. The system redistributes warm air in the winter and pumps in cold air during the summer.

U.S. Bank Stadium is one of just 80 LEED-certified sports venues in the U.S., according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). It is also the first NFL stadium to be built with LED lighting, which uses 75 percent less electricity than metal halide lighting typically deployed in stadiums.

Furthermore, the stadium offsets all of its energy with renewable energy credits. It deploys low-flow faucets to save water. It was built with a single steel truss, instead of two, which reduced the amount of steel needed for construction. And, it has committed to becoming a zero waste facility where almost all waste is recyclable or compostable.

U.S. Bank Stadium boasts an energy-saving weatherproof roof.Nic Lehoux

Minnesota was ranked 9th in ACEEE's 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard because of its energy efficiency policies. The state's building standards call for structures built after 2010 to consume 60 percent less energy than the average building, with the goal of reaching net zero by 2030. The U.S. Bank Stadium is working to adhere to these standards.

"I think the stadium sends a message to the people of Minnesota about being environmentally responsible," Strong said. "It comes very close to meeting all the state's sustainability guidelines."

One issue yet to be resolved is whether the building's glass windows pose a danger to birds. Many birds migrate to or through Minnesota in large numbers, according to the Audubon Minnesota, which raised the issue of potential bird collisions before the stadium opened. Since then, Audubon, the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University announced they would collaborate on a two-year study to evaluate the threat.

The partially clear roof cuts down on electricity and gives fans an outdoor-like experience.Nic Lehoux

The U.S. Bank Stadium is one example of a larger trend among college and professional sports teams to conserve energy, both to save money and to limit carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. This effort assumes a higher profile during the Super Bowl.

"Given the bewildering retreat from essential, science-based climate policy being enacted by the worst environmental administration in our nation's history, a counter message by the NFL promoting progress on climate could not be more important," said Allen Hershkowitz, chairman of Sport and Sustainability International." As one of the most visible sporting events in the world, the Super Bowl has a unique opportunity to promote environmental literacy and reduce cultural polarization related to climate change."

"The U.S. Bank venue's commitment to 100 percent renewable energy credits, combined with its ambitious zero waste goals, and the region's intelligent mass transit infrastructure, position this event to be among the most carbon intelligent Super Bowls ever," he said.

On the field of the environmentally responsible U.S. Bank Stadium.Nic Lehoux

While locals are happy to see Minnesota represented in Super Bowl LII, game day will be bittersweet. Strong, a lifelong Minnesotan, regrets the fact that the Vikings won't be in it. They suffered a crushing loss to the Eagles in the NFC championship game two weeks ago, and they won't get to play at home in the biggest football event of the year.

"We would have loved for them to be playing in the Super Bowl, in their home stadium, and in front of a national audience," Strong said. "We really wanted to be able to root for the hometown team."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Animals
Dolphin found with a bullet wound in California's Manhattan Beach. Marine Animal Rescue / Facebook

'Senseless Killing': Dolphin Found Shot Dead on California Beach

How could anyone shoot a dolphin? A dolphin that washed up dead in Manhattan Beach, California died from a bullet wound, according to local animal rescue workers.

Earlier this month, Peter Wallerstein, the founder of Marine Animal Rescue, responded to a call about a stranded dolphin on the surf, according to NBC News. By the time he arrived at the scene, the marine mammal was dead.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A critically endangered Javan rhino in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park. Robin Moore / Global Wildlife Conservation

See Stunning Footage of World's Most Threatened Rhino

With only 68 individuals left on the planet, the Javan rhino is the world's most threatened rhino species.

So you can image the surprise when a team from Global Wildlife Conservation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) saw one of these incredible creatures wallowing in the mud in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park, the only place on Earth where these critically endangered species are found.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Laurie and Charles / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Turkeys: Who Are They, and Why Should We Care?

By Karen Davis

We adopted Amelia as a young turkey into our sanctuary from a local farmer. She lived with us for five years until her legs gave out, and we had to call our veterinarian to put her to rest, surrounded by her friends in the yard. Until then she hung out happily with the chickens and ducks, and when people visited, she'd fan out her white tail feathers and stroll amiably beside them.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses a rally held to call on Sen. Jeff Flake to reject Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair

By Jon Queally

As the debate within the new House Democratic caucus continues to grow over the demand to create a New Green Deal select committee, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) came out on Saturday to say that not only should Nancy Pelosi create such a committee, she should appoint newly-elected New York freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be its chairperson.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Foxys_forest_manufacture / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Awareness of Food Waste Can Help Us Appreciate Holiday Meals

By Bryce Hannibal

Americans celebrate the winter holidays in many ways, which typically include an abundance of food, drinks, desserts—and waste. Food waste is receiving increasing attention from managers, activists, policymakers and scholars, who call it a global social problem. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, wealthy nations waste nearly as much food every year as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

Efforts to reduce food waste tend to focus on consumption practices, with less attention to the production and distribution side. But according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a large proportion of food loss and waste in the U.S. occurs at the farm-to-retail level, with about 133 billion pounds of food available at retailers going uneaten.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
The SeaRose FPSO and offshore support vessels. Berardo62 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

250,000 Liters of Crude Spills off Newfoundland Coast

An estimated 250,000 liters (66,000 gallons) of crude spilled from the SeaRose FPSO, a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, in the White Rose oil and gas field off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Husky Energy, the operator responsible, said the spill happened on Friday when the SeaRose FPSO "experienced a loss of pressure" in an oil flowline, according to the Canadian Press.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
Trump speaks while Wheeler stands by at the White House State Leadership Day Conference for Alaska, California and Hawaii in October. Win McNamee / Getty Images

Trump Wants Coal-Friendly Wheeler to Run the EPA Permanently

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he would nominate former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to permanently run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CNN reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Protestors block traffic on Westminster Bridge, demanding urgent action on climate change. Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

6,000 Climate Activists Block 5 London Bridges, Demand Urgent Action

On Saturday, More than 6,000 climate activists shut down five bridges in Central London. The protest, organized under the banner of Extinction Rebellion to call for urgent action on climate change, was the first to intentionally block the bridges "in living memory," the group reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!