Sustainable Design of Sports Venues Essay Paper

Sustainability Process in the Design of Construction of Sports Venues


In the United States, the construction and operation of sports stadiums create certain numbers of environmental problems. The construction projects including the sports projects consume 60% of the U.S. raw materials yearly. Moreover, the physical facilities in the United States consume 14% of the country’s potable water, responsible for 38% of CO2 emissions, 30% of waste output, and 72% of electricity consumption. In most cases, construction of sports projects fails to integrate sustainable protocols in their design strategies during and after the constructions leading to the environmental degradations. Many products used to construct the facilities exteriors and interiors after or during the construction affect the environment negatively. Over the years, the U.S. government introduces series of legislations such as the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Clean Air Act (CAA) mandating the sport events stakeholders to integrate sustainability into the design of the sports facilities to minimize the impact of the environmental pollution and maximize sustainability. (Grant, 2014).


The objective of this report is to investigate the strategies architects can employ to design the sports venues to maximize sustainability to make the venues be environmentally friendly.


Method Architects Can Employ in Designing Sports Venues to Maximize Sustainability


Horne (2011) argues that architects are instrumental for the design of the physical layout of the sports facilities. Several strategies architects can employ in integrating sustainability in the design protocol. First, architects should design the sustainable power generating plants for the sports stadiums using the solar panels to reduce the amount of energy used to power the sports events. Compared with the traditional methods of generating the electricity, the solar energy is sustainable in nature and its environmental impacts are minimized. Aquino, & Nawari, (2015) point out architects should consider integrating the solar power in the designing process. The National Stadium in Taiwan built in 2009 for World Game is one of the best stadia that integrates sustainability in the design process. The Japanese architect who designed the stadium used 8,844 solar panels that produced nearly 1.14 million KWh per year. Typically, the solar power provides 100% of the electricity used in the stadium, and the power meets 80% of the electricity used by the surrounding neighborhoods. The sun is the most important sustainable energy source. The major benefit of the solar energy is its cleanliness and is remarkable renewable. The solar panels should be used to reduce the need for the traditional electricity. The report also suggests using the materials that are 100% reusable to design the sporting facilities. Moreover, architects should integrate the dual-flush toilets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and native landscaping in the design process to reduce the water use by 40%. The strategy is to use the multiple and composite recycling containers to enhance sustainable water use.


In the master plan of the architectural design, the design should take a renewable approach. Typically, it is advisable to use less steel to design the stadium by using the recycled materials for the construction. For example, the ring beam to design the roof should be made from the reclaimed gas pipes using the PVC as opposed to the traditional method of steel and concrete. The strategy will assist in reducing the weight and the green gas emission making the stadium more recyclable.


Architects should also include the water harvesting systems in the design process utilizing non-potable water for multiple uses. The water-harvesting systems will assist in reducing the demand for water by reusing the harvested rainwater to flush toilets, and irrigate fields. The biking paths, ecological park, and sports parks should be integrated into the design to lower greenhouse gas and provides the safe way in reaching the stadium. The water efficiency program should be incorporated into the design process; the plumbing fixture design will assist in reducing the water use by 52%. The fixtures should include waterless urinals, showerheads, restroom faucets and restroom faucets. The landscape design should be done properly to reduce the water use. The native plant species and other species that require low water demand should be used for the landscape to reduce the water demand.


The facility managers should implement the waste management program to enhance the sustainability of the sports venues. The facility managers should incorporate the e-waste program where the sports lovers are asked to bring their outdated electronics in exchange for free tickets for proper disposal. Moreover, the facility managers should create a sustainable waste program to dispose of materials such as fibers, plastics, organic materials, scrap metals and bulbs. Trendafilova, Kellison, & Spearman, (2014) recommend that the facility manager should use the energy efficient Fluorescent lighting bulbs to reduce the amount of energy generated into the atmosphere. Additionally, the facility managers should implement the recycling programs that include landfill program, sustainable irrigation systems, plastic bottle recycling, aluminum cans and cardboard recycling.


LEED Sports Facilities and Certification


Architects and facility managers should incorporate the “LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)” concepts in the sports venues design and management. (Grant, 2014, p 157). The LEED is the building certification that demonstrates the quality of a building and its achievement for sustainability. The LEED has been used globally for the green building rating system. Typically, the LEED certification is an independent verification of a building that meets green features, and maintenance of resource-efficient in the design and management. The LEED certification assists in reducing the environmental pollution by encouraging resources and energy-efficient buildings. The goal of LEED program is to reduce the environmental impact that building constructions produce by using measures such as waste reduction techniques, high-efficiency lighting, waterless, and low-flow toilets.


“MLB’s Washington Nationals Park was the first stadium to achieve certification for LEED New Construction in 2008, and facilities across the country are certifying buildings under the New Construction and EBOM (Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance) rating systems.” (Waste Management, 2014 p 2).


Moreover, the Orlando Magic’s Amway was the first NBA arena to be certified LEED Gold because the facility saved 25% of energy and 40% of water. Moreover, the project saves approximately $700,000 energy cost annually. Minnesota Twins’ Target Field opened in 2010 also received the highest points in LEED certification. The Minnesota Twins’ Target used the newest advances in renewable and recycling technologies for recycling materials that include metals, cardboard, wood, and concrete. Miami Marlins Park also received the LEED certification because 97% of the materials used to complete the stadium assisted in reducing the energy costs and transportation emissions. The Marlins also promotes and uses the recycled Nike shoes. This creative and innovative ideas earn Marlins the extra points of LEED certification.


The trends in the sustainability design of the sports venues will continue in the future because the sports stakeholders will like to earn the LEED certifications in their sports venues to reduce environmental pollution, and abide with environmental laws




Historically, major sports ballparks, arenas, stadium consume a lot of non-renewable energy and contribute to the environmental degradation. Moreover, sporting events create air pollution from the gas emitted from personal vehicles of employees and attendees. The substantial amount of waste materials is also generated from the sports events; these issues affect the environment. This report recommends the methods architects can employ in integrating the sustainability in the design of the sport events. The study suggests that architects should incorporate the solar energy in the sports design construction to enhance environmental sustainability.




Aquino, I. & Nawari, N.O. (2015). Sustainable Design Strategies for Sports Stadia. Suburban Sustainability. 3(1).


Grant, T.J. (2014). Green Monsters: Examining the Environmental Impact of Sports Stadiums. Vill. Envtl. L.J.5(1): 149-176.


Horne, J. (2011). Architects, stadia, and sports spectacles: Notes on the role of architects in the building of sports stadia and making of world-class cities. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46, 205 — 227.


Trendafilova, S., Kellison, T.B. & Spearman, L. (2014). Environmental Sustainability in Sports Facilities in East Tennessee. Journal of Facility Planning, Design, and Management, 2 (1).


Waste Management (2014). Sustainable Stadiums & Arenas. Thinkgreen USA.

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