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Sports Arenas Go Green

philipsarena1Office and government buildings aren’t the only structures going green; two sports arenas — the Philips Arena and the American Airlines Arena — have met the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Philips Arena, home to the Atlanta Thrashers, is the first NBA or NHL arena to achieve LEED certification for an existing facility, reported NHL.com. The facility meets LEED for Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) certification.

USGBC president, CEO and founding chairman Rick Fedrizzi told NHL.com that if all 5.1 million existing commercial buildings in the U.S. followed the lead of Philips Arena to become more energy efficient, it would save about $160 billion by 2030 and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

American Airlines Arena in Miami was certified the same day as the Philips Arena in Atlanta, making the two facilities the only sports arenas in the country with LEED certification, reported the Sun Sentinel.

Kim Stone, the American Airline Arena’s general manager, told the Sun Sentinel that the costs for certification were minimal because all paperwork was handled in-house and only a few improvements were needed. The nearly 10-year-old building already had many electricity- and water-saving features, reported the newspaper.

Last year, the Pepsi Center claimed to be the first sports arena in the U.S. with a “100 percent green” status, when it announced the purchase of enough renewable energy to offset all electricity used at the arena.

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