As the San Francisco 49ers gear up for the Super Bowl on Sunday, the football team has partnered with the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and NRG Energy to help the new facility become the first professional football stadium to open with LEED certification — and the first zero-energy sports venue in California.
NRG, a founding partner for the new stadium, will install three solar array-covered bridges, a solar canopy above the green roof on the suite tower portion of the stadium, and solar panels over the 49ers training center at the NFL team’s future home.
The arrays will have a total peak capacity of about 400 kW and will provide enough power over the course of a year to offset the power consumed at the stadium during 49ers home games. The companies say the stadium will be the first professional sports venue in California to achieve net zero energy performance.
NRG says the solar bridges, which will connect the main parking area to the stadium, will be the first in the NFL.
In addition to the solar arrays and green roof, the stadium’s environmentally friendly initiatives include public transit access, convenient bicycle parking, a walking path from the San Tomas Creek Trail, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, recycled materials and other sustainable design elements.
NRG says it will explore other sustainability efforts such as installing electrical vehicle charging stations to the new stadium.
In late 2012, Detroit Thermal, owner and operator of the district energy steam system throughout the greater downtown Detroit area, announced it is supplying hot water heaters for Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Detroit Thermal replaced the stadium’s natural gas hot water heaters with three steam heat exchangers that the energy company said will improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact and meet expanding demands.