Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Falcon’s new home, is seeking LEED Platinum certification — and is “on target” to achieve this highest level of the green building rating from the US Green Building Council, says Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay.
Once construction is completed this summer, the stadium is is expected to be the first NFL and MLS stadium to achieve LEED Platinum. It will also be the first sports facility to achieve all water credits available for LEED.
The venue’s management has also committed to further restore natural water systems wetlands and damaged watersheds and are pursuing a new LEED Pilot Credit strategy called Water Restoration Certificates (WRC). Through this effort, the stadium will purchase WRCs locally from the Flint River in Georgia’s water supply, providing for a 100 percent regional impact and monetary benefits for the local watershed, the stadium managers say.
Other sustainable building features include:
- Save 29 percent in energy usage compared to a typical stadium design
- Has 4,000 solar panels generating around 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year of renewable energy
- Electric car charging stations
- Onsite edible landscaping
- 680,000-gallon cistern used for water recapture and reuse for land irrigation
- 1 million gallon cooling tower
“[Owner] Arthur [Blank] set a goal. He said ‘I want this building to be LEED certified. I want it to be LEED certified at least at a gold level.’ It was initially described to us as potentially not doable,” McKay says, on the stadium’s website.
Further discussions with stadium general manager and chairman of the Green Sports Alliance Scott Jenkins moved the target even higher and made LEED Platinum look more realistic.
In October, the Obama administration recognized Mercedes-Benz Stadium for its carbon reduction and climate resiliency efforts on the inaugural Green Sports Day.
In addition to reducing their environmental footprint, LEED-certified stadiums increase cost-savings, decrease annual operating costs and see a higher return on investment overall, according to a USGB report released last week.
The report highlights the green building strategies and financial savings of more than 30 LEED-certified venues across the globe. For example, the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center, which is LEED Gold certified, saved almost $1 million a year, including about $700,000 in annual energy costs alone.