Lincoln Financial Field Fired Up for Green Renovation
Americans love their sports, and by embracing green technology, one professional football stadium can showcase alternative energy in action for millions of fans. Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, is announcing plans to convert their home base into the world’s greenest stadium. The facility is scheduled to go off the grid in time for the opening game in 2011.
Three sources will combine to power the state of the art stadium. Approximately 2,500 solar panels will be installed over portions of the roof and façade, tilting toward the southern sun. The rim of the stadium will have 100 wind turbines taking advantage of the sustained winds that average between 8 and 10.9 miles per hour in the Philadelphia area. A cogeneration power plant fueled by biodiesel or natural gas will be constructed in a non-public parking area of the parking lot surrounding the stadium. The unique combination should easily meet the power generation needs of the stadium, and leftover power will feed back into the grid.
Not only does the project educate fans and boost public relations, it is expected to save the organization $60 million in energy costs in the next 20 years. Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie said, “We never really accepted the notion that to do great by the environment would not be a wise business practice, or too costly.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised the Eagles’ initiative, saying, “The Eagles continue to lead the way.”
The solar panels and wind turbines will provide a fraction of the power, but their visibility will ad a “wow” factor to the stadium and get people talking about environmental issues and alternative energy sources. Goodell said, “Millions of people will be coming to this facility over the years or going by it on the highway, or flying over it.” Millions more across the county and around the world will see it when games are broadcast on television. Lurie noted that studies have shown that 56 percent of Americans pay attention to sports, while a much smaller 18 percent pay attention to science.
Orlando-based renewable energy company Solar Blue is partnering with the Eagles’ organization to install and operate the equipment. Solar Blue is investing close to $30 million in the project, and the Eagles will purchase electricity at a fixed annual increase of 3 percent according to a 20-year contract. The plant will operate at a 7.6- megawatt capacity. The wind and solar components will only contribute .86 of a megawatt, but will prove these sources can be accessed in original ways and are not limited to giant farms located far away from heavily populated areas.
Other benefits from the project include the elimination of harmful carbon emissions and the creation of new jobs. The Eagles estimate the clean energy program will prove equivalent to removing 41,000 cars from the road each year. Solar Blue expects 600 new jobs will be created for local vendors, suppliers and contractors. In addition, 50 permanent jobs will remain in place for the life of the contract from the 200 construction jobs created during the stadium’s renovation.