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Improving Sustainability in Sports & Stadiums Using Technology

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Understanding and Leveraging the Connection Between Sports and Sustainability

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” While seemingly distant from the world of stadiums, sustainability is rapidly growing in importance for consumers; per McKinsey & Company, 78% of US consumers say that a sustainable lifestyle is important to them.

How, then, can stadiums be more sustainable? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll key in on some essential strategies for increasing sustainability in stadiums — also highlighting notable benefits to encourage implementation.

Why Improve Stadium Sustainability? Benefits of Sustainability in Sports

Improving sustainability offers immense benefits for stadiums — including substantive improvements to both the environment around your stadium and your business.

Protecting the Environment

The ultimate goal of sustainability is simple: improve the planet & environment to make it a better place for humankind, both now and in the future. In turn, there’s an intrinsic connection between sports and environmental sustainability — what are sports but a means to connect & improve communities, both locally and globally?

Stadiums can play a key role in increasing sustainability in sports and take active measures to protect the environment. When leveraging key sustainability strategies, both the community and localities around stadiums improve in quality, creating a better experience for locals and visitors alike.

Boosting Your Business

Beyond protecting the environment, sustainability also offers substantial financial benefits for stadiums. So much of sustainability is minimizing wasteful practices and enhancing stadium efficiency. In turn, sustainability inherently ties into decreasing a stadium’s bottom line, reducing unnecessary costs and increasing skillful resource allocation.

Sustainability doesn’t just come with financial benefits for businesses. Via Forbes, Mario Paysse lists several additional benefits of sustainability for businesses, including employee retention, brand reputation, and infiltrating emerging markets. Take, for example, the Gen Z market; First Insight found 73% of Gen Z shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, a trend that should extend to stadium experiences.

strategies to increase sustainability in sports stadiums

Essential Strategies to Increase Sustainability in Sports Stadiums

With substantial benefits to both the environment and business, stadiums should make sustainability a top priority. These are several essential ways modern stadiums have increased their sustainability to consider implementing in your venue.

Automated Facilities Management

Stadiums consume massive amounts of energy; exact numbers are hard to pin down, but experts estimate that major stadiums consume tens of thousands of kilowatts in energy per hour. Although necessary to power existing facilities, much of this energy is wasteful.

Automated facilities management helps reduce unnecessary energy consumption. Stadiums can install automated sensors in bathrooms, kitchens, and more to only leave the lights on when guests & employees are in spaces. An exciting rising technology, automated facilities management is one of several key uses of IoT commonly found in smart stadiums.

Renewable Energy Sources

Automation isn’t the only way to reduce stadium energy costs. Through sustainable energy measures installed within venues, stadiums can add a renewable layer to their energy portfolio, decreasing rising energy costs and ensuring energy sustainability going forward.

The most common type of renewable energy in stadiums is solar power. According to Eco Watch, about 33% of major U.S. sports teams have adopted solar energy, with over 40.6 million fans attending events at solar-powered stadiums in 2022. Unobtrusive and efficient, solar is an incredibly efficient internal choice for stadiums. Venues may also partner with local providers of wind and hydropower for additional renewable resources.

improving sustainability in sports and stadiums

LEED Accredited Water Efficiency

The EPA estimates at least 40 states anticipate water shortages by 2024. With rising shortages, water will be both harder to come by and far more expensive, leading to difficult decisions for stadiums with high water consumption. In turn, increasing water efficiency should be a top priority for stadiums looking to increase their sustainability.

Stadiums have access to diverse ways to increase water efficiency. Manual installations, such as aerators for faucets and high-efficiency toilets, can undercut water usage as a whole. Water reuse systems, meanwhile, can safely recycle a vast majority of used water, creating sustainable water outputs for non-potable applications. Stadiums may also minimize water usage via integrated IoT technology, supported by responsive stadium internet; smart irrigation systems, for example, can monitor weather data and soil moisture to only run sprinklers on grass fields when necessary.

Water conservation can also help stadiums gain ratings within the LEED Rating System. LEED v4.1 lists Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Outdoor Water Use Reduction, Indoor Water Use Reduction and Building-level Water Metering as mandatory prerequisites for gaining Water Efficiency (WE) credits — valuable both in cementing your stadium as an industry-leader and in marketing it as a sustainable stadium.

Plastic Reduction & Lowering Overall Waste

Thanks to thousands of yearly fans and incredibly high consumption of disposable goods, stadiums are inherently high-waste facilities. Minimizing waste in stadiums, however, is an incredibly achievable goal, with some leading venues already becoming zero waste facilities. Many stadiums lower overall waste by reducing their reliance on disposable plastics — replacing them with more easily diverted materials or reusable plastics.

Integrated systems can also go a long way to reducing stadium waste. Through automated stocking using stadium food delivery apps, stadiums can shrink instances of over-ordering and prevent unnecessary spending on disposables and perishables. In turn, stadiums can only order what they really need, increasing sustainability and financial savings.

Support Sustainable IoT Solutions With Responsive Stadium Internet

Sustainability is a key concern for stadiums looking to prepare themselves for the future; in turn, many sustainability efforts are powered by IoT technology. As venues scale their IoT solutions, including through sustainability initiatives, they need to leverage the support of capable stadium internet to power these upgrades.

Hospitality Network is a leading provider of internet to stadiums & arenas. Our scalable networks help stadiums provide responsive internet to guests, while preparing venues for future technology — including sustainability solutions. Request a consultation with our team today and prepare your stadium for the future of sustainability.