How the NFL is Responding to Climate Change


Nov 6, 2011; Foxboro, MA, USA; The outside of Gillette Stadium before the start of the game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Stoddard of has contributed this piece about how NFL teams are becoming more environmentally friendly.

Parents, little league coaches, and high school athletic managers have praised organized sports as the best vehicle to teach children and emerging adults about self-discipline, teamwork, and personal responsibility. Now they can add environmental responsibility, since professional sports organizations, such as NFL teams, have also become avenues for creating great environmental role models.

There seems to be competition both on the field and in the executive boardrooms of the teams, as managers and owners develop plans to move forward with more environmentally-friendly practices, with the establishment of NFL Green initiatives. The Arizona Cardinals offset game day energy by 100 percent throughout the 2012-2013 season. The NFL partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency to build the New Meadowlands Stadium for the New York Jets and Giants, integrating features that increase recycling, reduce air pollution, improve waste management, and conserve water and energy. And the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco’s (Santa Clara) 49ers have all incorporated money-saving elements into their stadiums that reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability endeavors, making them three NFL leaders committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Here is more about how three stand-out teams are doing their part to protect the earth.

Philadelphia Eagles

With a rigorous recycling program that includes composting field, event, and food waste, the team has managed to achieve 100 percent diversion from the landfill. This is a remarkable feat, considering that even with strict oversight, it is impossible to control what the fans bring into the stadium and parking lot.

With new energy sources that include wind turbines and solar panels, the team is expected to obtain a savings of $32 million over the next 20 years. According to, the Eagles utilized a contract that locks in energy rates to garner such high returns. Similar contracts are available for facilities considering equipment upgrades which connect eco-friendly suppliers with commercial users.

New England Patriots

The Patriots organization has implemented multiple equipment changes since opening Gillette Stadium in 2002. With innovative solutions for lighting, heating, and water systems, the team will reap $2 million in annual savings.

The team relies on solar arrays, a closed-loop water filtration system, and automation equipment for LED lights and heating to have accomplished a reduction in energy consumption of 30 percent.

San Francisco (Santa Clara) 49ers

As the 49ers take their new home in Santa Clara, owners hope to be the first to achieve recognition as a net-zero energy performance sporting venue in California. To achieve this laudable goal, the stadium is equipped with high-efficiency solar elements and electric charging stations for vehicles.

With composting, clean-water recycling and re-filtering systems, LEED-certified lighting programs, and solar energy, professional organizations in the NFL are stepping up to the challenge of mentoring the next generation of all-star players. Management goals no longer stop at the ticket counter, and that’s good for everyone.