"Green" Local Sports

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

October 29, 2009

For sports fans October may be the best time of year. You've got college football, the NFL, MLB postseason, NHL hockey, and the start of the NBA season. Over the past few years these leagues have been pursuing a wide range of green initiatives.

MLB, NFL, NBA, and the NHL are the "big four" sports leagues in North America and with millions of sports fans come millions of opportunities to go green. With new energy efficient venues, like the LEED certified Nationals Park in D.C. and the new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets. Others on more of a team level, the Philadelphia Eagle have set the bar through the Eagles Go Green campaign and by hosting the first climate-neutral game in 2005.

So that raises the question, what is being done here at UVa and the John Paul Jones Arena? JPJ Assistant General Manager, Jason Pedone says, "With the exception of say a lid for a cup or a plastic bag around cotton candy, to my knowledge everything else is recyclable that we serve from our concession stands." UVa Associate Athletic Director, Jason Bauman says, "It's not just the stuff that is ending up in the receptacles, all the stuff that was left at the seats we collect that as well. And you talk about a volume of products that we collect after each game! It's nice to know that we have had a positive impact."

In addition to recycling efforts there is a focus on energy conservation. Bauman says, "We try to be as efficient as possible, one reason, it reduces our costs but we also use less. So we computerized all of our HVAC systems so we maximize our efficiency." Pedone says, "We do have the ability to use a lot of natural lighting, through some windows in the top of the building. You don't notice that during concerts or basketball games."

JPJ also features a mostly hidden but unique design trait to manage rainwater. "One of the biggest features is the rainwater runoff control. The slope of our front lot catches a great deal of rainwater and it gets funneled into the natural area on the south side of the building." says Pedone.

When it comes to "going green" it's all about the cooperation between UVa, JPJ, and the fans. Pedone adds, "Certainly when basketball season starts you can reach a lot of people in a hurry. We just try to be a vessel to get the word out as much as anything else."

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