Mercedes-Benz Stadium Goes for LEED Platinum Designation; Watch Video to See How


Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the soon-to-open downtown home of the Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer expansion club Atlanta United FC, is raising the bar for green stadium construction and operations as it expects to attain LEED Platinum certification. That would be a first for both the NFL and MLS buildings. A new video provides an eye-popping look inside the state-of-the-green-art building as it nears completion. 
This message is for Atlanta Falcons fans:
You are, I am sure, still gutted three weeks or so after watching your team blow the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. This will sting for a long time; there’s no way around it. Hey, I’m a long suffering Jets fan; I know about pain.
But time—and meditation—will slowly heal the wounds. In fact, as a public service, we are providing Falcons supporters, free of charge, with two (long-ish) mantras that, if repeated twice daily, should help hasten the healing process:

  1. The Falcons are good, young and should contend for the Super Bowl next season and beyond. The team has the reigning NFL MVP, QB Matt Ryan, and, arguably, the best wide receiver in the game, Julio Jones, both still in their primes. A young, powerful, two-headed running game, working behind a solid young offensive line, is in place. A fast and—you guessed it—young defense does need some tweaks. But this is a contending team that bloody well better have a serious chip on its shoulder heading into 2017.
  2. The Falcons, along with Major League Soccer expansion club Atlanta United F.C., are moving into the beautiful Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on track to become the first LEED Platinum stadium in the NFL and MLS. What an embarrassment of riches—a Super Bowl contender and a brand new soccer team that sold over 27,000 seasons tickets (a record for MLS), all playing in one of the greenest sports venues in the world.

Feel better?
You should.
I’ll leave the on-field Falcons (therapeutic) analysis to the gridiron experts and will instead take a deeper look at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, slated to open July 30, when Atlanta United F.C.^ takes on Orlando City F.C.

Artist’s rendering of Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Credit: Atlanta United F.C.)

When we interviewed Mercedes-Benz Stadium General Manager and Green Sports Alliance Chairman of the Board Scott Jenkins in November, 2015, the building’s breakthrough greenness was only beginning to come into focus. Now, with only five months till Opening Day, that focus is sharp and the sustainability picture is impressive. Mercedes-Benz Stadium will:

  • Feature water fixtures that use 47 percent less water than baseline standards.
  • Save 29% in energy usage vs. a typical stadium design.
  • Collect rain water in a 1,100,000 gallon storm vault and a 680,000 gallon cistern for cooling tower water and landscape irrigation. This will also keep storm water away from the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
  • Contain 4,000 PV solar panels. The 1.3 megawatts generated by the panels will be enough to power 9 Falcons home games or 13 United home matches.
  • Incorporate edible landscaping (apples and blueberries) into the site.

To get a better sense of what Falcons and United owner Arthur Blank, Jenkins and the rest of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium team will deliver, please watch the short video below.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-DYFYUwujw&w=560&h=315]
Again, I ask Falcons fans: Feel better? I tell you what: I feel better, and my team’s starting quarterback isn’t even on the roster.

Here’s one more thing to feel good about, Falcons fan or not.
The same best-in-green-class ethos that characterizes the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also being brought to bear on the demolition of the Georgia Dome, the Falcons home the past 25 years*.

The Georgia Dome (Photo credit: Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Beginning towards the end of this year, the project will result in 97 percent—or 176,000+ tons—of Georgia Dome materials (concrete, steel, and non-ferrous materials, including Copper, Brass, Aluminum and more) being recycled, reused and otherwise salvaged.

^Atlanta United F.C. will play the early portion of its inaugural campaign at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium
* Here’s a question for a separate story to which I don’t now have an answer: How sustainable is it to tear down a stadium after only 25 years?


Please comment below!
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  1. […] Baseball and their Green Tracks program. This goes back to 2011 or 2012. We were introduced to Scott Jenkins, who, at the time, ran Safeco Field on behalf of the Seattle […]

  2. […] Baseball and their Green Tracks program. This goes back to 2011 or 2012. We were introduced to Scott Jenkins, who at the time ran Safeco Field on behalf of the Seattle […]

  3. […] Baseball and their Green Tracks program. This goes back to 2011 or 2012. We were introduced to Scott Jenkins, who at the time ran Safeco Field on behalf of the Seattle […]

  4. the question i want to ask is what is wrong with the georgia dome? absolutely nothing! it’s like junking a car just because it’s last year’s model. the new stadium is down right ugly! while the old stadium is more pleasing to the eye. at least turner field will live on in it’s new role as a football stadium. tell me, why do the falcons need a billion plus dollar palace when the georgia dome still has plenty of life left in it. it seems when a new sports facility opens; the very first event it hosts is a ground breaking ceremony for it’s replacement. i bet in twenty years time, mercedes benz stadium and sun trust park will have their date with the wrecking ball. i’m surprised philips arena is still standing at the ripe old age of eighteen. don’t worry, the hawks will probably get their new palace in the not too distant future.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Cal. And you know what? I agree with you in general. The most environmentally, greenest new stadium or arena is the one you don’t build. My only exceptions are 1. if an existing stadium is breaking down/physically unsafe, and 2. if a team moves from the suburbs, where the main way of getting to-from the stadium/arena is by car, to the urban core, accessible by mass transit.
    In the case of the Georgia Dome, I doubt it was a safety risk and it’s accessible to mass transit, so I’m guessing it could have continued to exist and that the main reason to build a new one is luxury suites and the like. This is a guess because I don’t know the details about the physical condition of the Georgia Dome.
    To me, the even bigger environmental crime is SunTrust Park. Why did the Braves buck the suburban-to-urban core trend of stadiums and arenas? Pathetic. Here’s a link to a story I wrote about it back in 2014: https://greensportsblog.com/2014/12/23/best-and-worst-of-green-sports-2014/

  6. […] from a green-sports point of view, especially with the championship game being played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, expected to be the NFL’s first LEED Platinum-certified […]

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