Like a lot of people, I’m excited about football finally starting again. As I write this article, the start of the football season is officially here, and it’s been several months removed from the Super Bowl appearance of the hometown Falcons. In case you didn’t know, the Atlanta Falcons will have a brand-new home starting this season. The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium rang in the college football season with the Alabama Crimson Tide taking on Florida State in the Kickoff Classic and my alma mater, Georgia Tech, playing the Tennessee Volunteers on Labor Day night. The new stadium will host the home games of the Falcons and the Atlanta United soccer team and many other activities such as concerts and major sporting events.
Not only will this new stadium be exciting from a fan’s perspective, but it will also be groundbreaking in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability and should provide a model for other sports venues. I saw a local news report the other day about some of the technologies that the new stadium uses, and thought this would be a good opportunity to mention several things you may find if you make your way to downtown Atlanta for an event at this new facility.
- Renewable Energy. According to the news report, the new stadium will have over 4,000 solar panels capable of generating over 1.5 million kWh per year. That will provide enough power for the Falcons and Atlanta United home games. The solar panels are incorporated into the design of the stadium itself, on top of parking areas, canopies, etc.
- Water Conservation. The stadium has a rainwater capture and reuse system, with a cistern to collect water, for use in the onsite irrigation systems and make-up water for the cooling towers.
- Alternative Transportation. Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are located throughout the parking areas to encourage the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Bike racks and connectivity to a bike trail system will also be available for cyclists attending the games, and the stadium will provide easy access to public transportation.
- Energy Conservation. The stadium uses LED lighting, which is significantly more efficient than older lighting technologies, and the use of natural daylighting to save energy. The facility also has state-of-the-art controls for energy management.
So, the next time you are in Atlanta, try to take in all the energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives that are incorporated into the design of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium as you cheer for your favorite team. You may just be walking underneath an array of solar panels without even knowing it!