Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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Submitted by: Kroenke Sports Enterprises
Posted: Mar 17, 2008 – 05:00 PM EST
DENVER, CO - March 17, 2008 - /PRNewswire/ -- Pepsi Center, Colorado's largest indoor sports and entertainment venue, has become the first sports arena in the United States to claim "100 percent Green" status, announcing it will buy enough renewable energy to offset all electricity used at the arena.
Arena officials also announced a program to encourage fan involvement in environmental issues, a package of improvements to the 9-year-old facility, and the arena's involvement in the Environmental Protection Agency's "Climate Leaders" program -- again, the first in the United States by a sports arena.
"These are important firsts," said Dave Jolette, Kroenke Sports vice president of venue operations. "Pepsi Center's involvement with 'Climate Leaders' represents a commitment that we hope other arenas will follow."
The EPA's Climate Leaders program is an industry-government partnership that works to inventory and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a company-wide basis to develop comprehensive climate change strategies.
"In the area of fan involvement, we think 'Play Clean' also could be an industry leader," Jolette continued. "The 100 percent Green status we've achieved through the use of renewable energy certificates also is a big commitment.
"This program is more than enough to power a scoreboard or lighting system. It is enough to cover all electricity used at Pepsi Center." The renewable energy certificates are being purchased through an agreement with Georgia-based Sterling Planet.
Recycling and Driver Initiatives
Pepsi Center will be the first major entertainment venue in Colorado to provide single-stream recycling of plastic cups, all bottles and clean paper products. The arena's "Play Clean" program will promote recycling among the more than 2 million fans that attend events at the venue and will seek the promotional assistance of the sports and entertainment stars playing at the arena. An estimated 20,000 pounds of recyclable material will be recycled at Pepsi Center annually, enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 193 metric tons and enough to power 23.2 American homes each year.
The recycling effort begins with this week's NCAA basketball tournament. Fans also may now use new hybrid-only spaces in the arena's parking lots. The arena also is promoting a new, voluntary "No Idling Zone" for cars in front of the building's box office.
"We'll be promoting the Play Clean message with each of our teams, using athletes and personnel in videos and public service announcements," Kroenke Sports executive vice president Paul Andrews said. "Our goal is to be among the most aggressive teams in our leagues when it comes to protecting the environment."
The 19,000-seat Pepsi Center is privately owned by Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) and is the home of the NBA Denver Nuggets, NHL Colorado Avalanche, NLL Colorado Mammoth and AFL Colorado Crush. The arena hosts more than 200 sporting events and concerts a year and is the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
"A number of the artists who play at Pepsi Center now require certain levels of green awareness as part of their contracts and we're glad Pepsi Center will be among the nation's leaders in building that awareness," Jolette added. "We'll be asking their participation in promoting the Play Clean theme."
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and regional EPA administrator Robert E. Roberts attended a Monday press conference at Pepsi Center and lauded effort being put into the Play Clean program and building improvements. Ritter noted the importance of a push by business to control climate change.
"It's the right thing to talk about," the Governor said. "People look at this as an economic development opportunity and realize that a significant challenge is transformed into an opportunity.
"We can make that statement, that when we change the way we consume energy, we do it on behalf of the planet, the state, the region and our country."
Pepsi Center Modifications
Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl also addressed the press conference, telling the crowd the Nuggets look forward to promoting Play Clean.
"Taking care of the environment is a new adventure in our country," Karl said. "It will bring everybody together because everybody has a fear that we are destroying our own environment. Colorado is an incredibly beautiful state, and to take the lead in environmental process -- from fuel to trash to lighting is a big step that I'm proud to be part of."
Other modifications to the arena are underway. Outdoor water features, toilets and kitchen sprayers have been replaced to reduce water consumption. Giant fans installed in the arena's ceiling are now redirecting airflows. Mechanisms for recycling grease and cardboard have been installed and 52 solar panels will soon provide electricity directly to the arena's Blue Sky Grill.
"All of our teams and fans will be affected by the changes, even if they don't know it," Jolette said. "Every effort helps and the scope of the Play Clean program is still relatively small -- recycling, changing fixtures and driver-oriented initiatives now. But these add up and we'll soon include a number of new components that we believe fans want."
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