Green Sports Alliance Summit: 49ers Raise LEED Certified Stadium Bar

The 4th annual Green Sports Alliance Summit took place this week in Santa Clara, CA, and drew 700+ attendees, including GreenSportsBlog, from all corners of the Green-Sports world. A highlight was a tour of Levi’s Stadium, also located in Santa Clara. It is the new, LEED Gold certified home of the San Francisco 49ers.



I could not stop saying this during a stem-to-stern tour of Levi’s Stadium, the 49’ers’ state-of-the-green-(and every other)-art stadium, led by Pat Rogan, its Director of Engineering Operations. And I was not the only one who was wowed.

Summit attendees were treated to the tour as some finishing touches were being applied to the stadium, which officially opens on August 2nd with a MLS match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders. The 49’ers first pre-season game is August 17 vs. the Denver Broncos and their first regular season game is a Sunday Night affair vs. the Chicago Bears on September 14.


The view from atop Levi’s Stadium, the LEED Gold Certified home of the San Francisco 49’ers. (Photo Credit: Lewis Blaustein)


How green is Levi’s Stadium? Let me count the ways:

  1. The stadium, which was designed by architects HNTB of Kansas City, MO, will recycle 86% of its water. Since California is, of course, in the midst of a now 3-year long (and counting) drought, this aspect of Levi’s Stadium greenness may be the most important of all.
  2. A 375 kW solar installation, developed by 49ers sponsor NRG, and using SunPower high efficiency panels, will, per Rogan, generate enough electricity in a year to power all of the Niners’ games in a season. The installations are in high visibility spots: On top of three NRG Energy Foot Bridges which take fans from the tailgating areas to the stadium, and on the NRG Terrace atop the stadium.
  3. A green roof will help insulate the stadium and will grow produce that will be used in the food service.
  4. Mass transit adjacent to Levi’s makes it accessible to fans from San Francisco, San Jose and other points in the Bay Area.
  5. 100% of the wood used in the Citrix Owners Suites is reclaimed from a local airplane hangar.
  6. The recycling and composting operation is the most sophisticated I’ve seen at any stadium or arena.
  7. Stadium concessionaires will offer a wide array of locally-sourced, farm-to-table items.
  8. The builders used recycled and reclaimed building materials wherever possible.

levi's water

Pat Rogan, Levi’s Stadium Director of Engineering Operations, explaining to Green Sports Alliance Summit tour-goers how it will recycle 86% of its water amidst the pipes that will be doing the recycling. (Photo Credit: Lewis Blaustein)


These reasons and more led the US Green Building Council to give Levi’s Stadium the much-coveted Gold certification, which was announced on Wednesday. My hope is that the greenness of Levi’s Stadium is promoted by the team and league to a wider audience than just those who attend the games. They will have that chance during the regular season and especially during Super Bowl 50 in February, 2016.

levi's suite

Entrance to the Citrix Owners Suites at Levi’s Stadium. 100% of the wood used in the suites is reclaimed. (Photo Credit: Lewis Blaustein)


The 49’ers have been one of the most successful teams on the field, with 5 Super Bowl championships, all since 1980 (as a Jets fan, I have Niners’ envy). Now they have a stadium worthy of their on-field excellence.


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18 thoughts on “Green Sports Alliance Summit: 49ers Raise LEED Certified Stadium Bar

  1. All the stats are truly amazing and none more so than the number of attendees. Every time I discuss your blog with someone out of your loop their reply is quizzical, but you are NOT alone. Green Sports is a phenomenon.

  2. I was a bit skeptical about this Summit going in–my main concern being that this one would be very similar, content-wise, to the 2013 version in Brooklyn (and I’d have to fly cross-country to find that out!). But I was very pleasantly surprised on many levels, not the least of which was the size of the turnout–and its quality. You’ll be reading more about the Summit in coming days on GSB.

  3. Awesome that you got to see the stadium in person! I agree – i hope what the Niners did is promoted beyond the locals? Question: did they do anything “green” to make the stadium safer from earthquakes?

  4. The Niners and the Super Bowl 50 Committee are both making a serious commitment to spread the Levi’s Stadium green story. I didn’t think to ask about the greenness of the earthquake protection. I’ll see if I can get an answer about that–good question!

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