|Tim Higgins, general manager of the ShoWare Center in Kent|
Our judges decided sports arenas and large meeting areas warranted their own category because of the significant impact they can have on the environment. The Washington State Convention Center’s nearly $1 million worth of efficient lighting fixtures, for example, saves 3 million kilowatt-hours in electricity per year.
The winner in the category was ShoWare Center in Kent, home of the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team, because of the comprehensiveness of its measures. The arena is the first sports and entertainment facility in North America to receive a LEED Gold certification.
During the design and construction of the facility, everything from stormwater retention to light pollution was taken into consideration to minimize the building’s impact on the environment. Nearly 90 percent of all construction debris was recycled thanks to advance planning and attention to detail. Along with energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures and dual-flush toilets to reduce energy and water waste, the arena also uses recyclable, non-petroleum-based food packaging.
Seattle Mariners/Safeco Field
Thanks to compostable plates, cups and utensils as well as good old-fashioned garbage sorting, Safeco Field now recycles or composts 80 percent of its waste, the best rate in Major League Baseball. In addition to cutting back on trash, Safeco is also saving water and electricity. Low-flow faucets and urinals save more than 1 million gallons of water per year. By 2011, the Mariners will have reduced their use of electricity by 30 percent since 2006.
First and Goal Inc./Qwest Field
Attendance at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC, increased by more than 600,000 people in 2009 during the Sounders’ inaugural season. Despite the increase in fans, the stadium, operated by First and Goal Inc., a unit of Vulcan Real Estate, has actually reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfills by 50 percent during the past three years. With the addition of a new sorting area, Qwest Field recycled or reused almost 35 percent of waste material generated in 2008.
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