The Superbowl and sustainable aren't two words you would normally find in a sentence, but the San Francisco 49ers and HNTB Corporation have done their level best to change that with the 68,500-seat Levi's Stadium. Solar-powered and crowned with a green roof, the first new NFL stadium to achieve LEED Gold certification produces sufficient power to ensure game days will be net-zero energy.
Scott Capstack, Director of Design at HTNB, told Inhabitat that the design philosophy behind Levi’s Stadium comprised three major ambitions: the owners wanted it to be the most technologically advanced stadium in the world, the greenest stadium in the world, and the most fan-friendly stadium in the world. Albeit hyperbolic ambitions, there are several reasons to suspect they have come very close to achieving them – at the very least.
Levi’s Stadium has a 27,000-foot living green roof planted with species native to California. Capstack says this not only helps create a pleasant environment for fans, but also regulates temperatures and manages stormwater runoff. The stadium receives some of its power from nearly 20,000 square feet of solar panels. These combined with LED lights, daylighting and a sophisticated smart energy system, drastically reduces the stadium’s carbon footprint when compared to standard stadiums. So much so that on game days, they are able to achieve net-zero energy. On other days, when the space is used for a variety of other events (so the building does stand empty when football players are resting their aching bodies), energy use really depends on the event taking place.
Given its site in California, two other factors were taken into consideration: seismic activity and water conservation. To address the first, 3,005 auger displacement piles were drilled to a depth of 60 to 70 feet to mitigate liquefaction, according to the design specifications. Additionally, “buckling restrained braces, typically used in office buildings, medical facilities and other structures with much shorter floor-to-floor heights, are used in the framing to protect against earthquake-related stresses.” Add to slash water consumption, 80 percent of the water used at the stadium is sourced from Santa Clara’s recycled water plant.
The designers of Levi’s Stadium were also really smart about how they sourced their materials. About 40 percent used were recycled, including a precious cache of redwood reclaimed from the historic blimp hangars at nearby Moffett Field, used for the interior of the owner’s club. Bamboo, one of the fastest growing and most renewable building materials we know of, was also incorporated into the design.
Lastly, it was important to the owners that the stadium be accessible from the general Bay area. To that end, it is within walking distance of various transit options, including buses, VTA light rail, ACE trains and Amtrak. And for those who prefer to arrive on two wheels, it is connected to the San Tomas Aquino walking/bike trail, and there is plenty of bicycle parking available.
Images via Jim Simmons