Golden Gophers Look to Enter Race for Nation’s First LEED-Certified Stadium

Two stadium projects in the works have already announced that they’ll be seeking LEED certification- the Nationals’ new ballpark in D.C. and the Twins’ new park in Minneapolis. No stadium project to date has received any level of LEED recognition, but what looked to be a two horse race has received another entrant- also from [...]

Two stadium projects in the works have already announced that they’ll be seeking LEED certification- the Nationals’ new ballpark in D.C. and the Twins’ new park in Minneapolis. No stadium project to date has received any level of LEED recognition, but what looked to be a two horse race has received another entrant- also from the land of 10,000 lakes. The University of Minnesota (“UM”), which currently plays its football games in the hideous Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, has plans to build a $288 million, open air, on-campus stadium, located on a redeveloped brownfield site. The design by HOK Sport of Kansas City will also incorporate reused concrete from grain elevators which will be torn down to make way for the new venue. Twin Cities-based Architectural Alliance and Studio Hive join HOK as part of the Design Team.

Assuming each project proceeds, and certification is awarded on schedule, the Nationals’ ballpark will open in April 2008, the Gophers’ in 2009, and the Twins’ in April 2010. But, as UM’s project coordinator Brian Swanson observes, “if it turns out we can’t get the [LEED] certification, it doesn’t mean that we are not going to do those things.”

Why haven’t more stadiums pursued LEED certification or, short of that, incorporated green elements into their designs? First off, none of the LEED systems, including (obviously) LEED-NC, are specifically geared towards stadium and arena construction. As the BD+C article notes, additional certification costs for a complicated and expensive stadium project could be prohibitive (and at $288 million, the UM project is at the low end of stadium project costs- the Cowboys’ new stadium in Dallas will top $1 billion, new Yankee Stadium a cool $800 million).

Nevertheless, stadium projects are massive undertakings with enormous environmental footprints, and many LEED credits from all five of the credit categories are, in fact, within a stadium or arena design team’s reach. It will be instructive to watch all three of these stadium projects as each respective design proceeds and individual project teams make an ultimate decision about their LEED certification options.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Blue Sky Mining » Blog Archive » Take Me Out to the Environmentally-Friendly Ballgame! - Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    [...] Other teams are showing some earth love, too. The Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins are in a race to become the first team with a LEED Certified stadium. In seeking LEED recognition from the United States Green Building Council, the teams are planning to minimize and filter waste streams, design for energy efficiency, incorporate public transportation considerations into their planning, and take dozens of other eco-conscious steps. [...]