News and Notes

Green Sports News And Notes: Rugby Makes Its GSB Debut


Rugby makes its first appearance in this space, the University of Colorado Athletics Department gets even greener (they were pretty green already!), and the first ever solar bike lane goes live.

All in all, a lively Green Sports News & Notes for a Thursday. Let’s get to it!


The Cardiff Blues of the Guiness Pro 12 league have added a green “3rd” jersey to their standard blue home and away kits. Why? The green jerseys are a result of a new sponsorship with DS Smith, a London-based packaging and recycling company. Underneath the sponsor’s logo (corporate sponsor presence on jerseys is commonplace in sports everywhere but in the US/Canada) is the tagline “Turning The Blues Green”, which encourages fans of the Welsh club to live more sustainably. In an interview with World Rugby Shop, Tim Price, Marketing Director at DS Smith shared that “the launch of the new green jersey is…backed up with a series of green pledges that will make a real difference.” Those verifiable pledges include:

  • Blues players taking short post match showers–in fact, showers are on a timer system that allows for a six minute duration, max.
  • Encouraging fans to use public transport on match days with a sweepstakes. Simply take a selfie on mass transit (train, bus), walking or cycling (next to the bike while standing, not while riding, please!), tweet Cardiff Blues at @cardiff_blues with the #bluesgogreen hashtag and you are entered into a drawing that will be paid off at the end of the 2014/15 season.
  • Reducing their energy consumption, with specific targets, around Cardiff Arms Park, their home stadium.
  • Donating a percentage of the profit to Keep Wales Tidy (love that name!) for every green jersey sold.

Cardiff Blues Green Canterbury
Ad for Rugby Union’s Cardiff Blues’ Green jerseys, which support the club’s “Turning The Blues Green” sustainability initiative. (Photo Credit:

The University of Colorado, which started with Zero-Waste (diversion of 90% or more of waste from landfill) basketball games last season (sponsored by BASF), is moving towards Zero-Waste at Folsom Field, the home of Buffaloes football. Football, with 8-10X the crowd size vs. basketball, is a much more challenging of a Zero-Waste undertaking.  But Ralphie’s Green Stampede, named after the Buffaloes’ mascot, as well as the team behind the University athletic department’s greening efforts, seems up for the task.
“The Stampede’s” staff and volunteer army meet two hours before kick-off at Folsom Field to prepare for waste management of the day’s event. And there is a lot of ground to cover as there are 40 zero-waste stations throughout the stadium, with two bins each — one for compost, the other for recycling–trash is not an option in those bins and must be thrown away elsewhere. In an interview on November 12 with the CU Independent, Anissha Raju, volunteer coordinator for the initiative, described the process of preparing “The Stampede” team, which sounds like that of a coach giving instructions to his/her squad before they head out on to the field of play: “I assign volunteers to each station and give a brief training session on what is compostable or recyclable and what is not,” Raju said. “…it is our volunteers’ job to educate the fans, making sure they defend each bin from being wrongly contaminated.” Defend The Bin! How cool is THAT?!

Since all bags are plant-based and compostable, and all public food and beverage services also use compostable and recyclable serving materials, getting to Zero-Waste looks very doable. This season, according Rajuthe CU home games are averaging 80-90% diversion rates–not quite enough to be called Zero-Waste but they are on the cusp–kind of like the Colorado Buffaloes on the field (2-6 but 3 very close losses).


The Netherlands is famous for its love of cycling as a means of commuting and recreation. Kronmenie, a city about 16 miles from Amsterdam, has made this very green pursuit even greener by installing the first ever solar-powered bike lane. It’s a small pilot program for now–the solar paneled piece measures only 70 meters (less than a football field) along a much longer bike path. But it’s a start and the potential is game changing.

When one realizes that this tiny patch of solar can produce enough energy to power three homes, the numbers can get very big if solar highways become the norm.

Green Bike Lane bbc

Workers in Kronmenie, The Netherlands, install part of the world’s first-ever solar powered bike lane. The 70 meter pilot, glass enclosed solar road, generates enough electricity to power 3 homes. (Photo Credit: BBC)

In fact, SolaRoad, the company behind the project, imagines solar paneled roads in the not-too-distant future that could eventually be used to power the electric vehicles that use them. For that to happen and for solar-powered roads to scale, the cost curve will need to be bent downwards–right now, solar bike lanes are 30% less efficient than roof-mounted systems as the latter can be tilted towards the sun–and the technology is 3X more expensive to install (the panels are encased in a 1-inch thick layer of glass strong enough to withstand a truck, which is, of course, adds to the cost.)

But solar cost curves are bending down, fast. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you see solar bike lanes sprouting up soon throughout the Netherlands and beyond.

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  1. Solar paneled roads!! Very cool. What about solar paneled driveways? Not everyone has a southern facing roof, but they may have a driveway exposed. I’d do that if the price was right.

  2. I’m sure the technology is the same, except perhaps that the glass casing might need to be thicker. It’s all about cost–and the cost curve is bending downward, big time, on solar.

  3. Reblogged this on Relan.

  4. Awesome post! University of Colorado is doing some great stuff. Also – was actually just reading about the Netherlands today. This road seems sweet, but more conceptual than anything else. Am I correct in that presumption? Do you have any insight as to durability compared to paved toll roads now? Would be curious to see how the solar road holds up !

    1. Great questions: This is a pilot program so the proof is in the pudding…or pedaling, I guess. Reading between the lines, there’s a reason the pilot is a road for (light-ish) bicycles rather than (much heavier) cars/trucks. My bet is that they wouldn’t go to the expense of the pilot without being super confident of the solar panels being able to hold up (with the 1″ thick encasement). I think what they will likely be testing is the efficiency of said panels, rather than if they’ll work at all. Will follow this story for sure.

  5. The solar paneled bike lane makes ME want to ride a bike — and that says a lot!

  6. Well, if you go to the Netherlands, grab a bike and a helmet and cycle those 55 yards…Although my guess is the length of solar bike lanes will increase significantly over time.

  7. […] the Greenwashing of the Olympics, an English soccer club that serves only vegan food and the Greening of Rugby. Now, we’re going Down Under to take on the Greening of […]

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