Blazers earn LEED gold certification for Rose Garden

Press release:

Portland Trail Blazers Earn First LEED gold certification for a major league venue

Rose Garden Arena Operations and Maintenance called a milestone in the greening of sports

Portland, OR — The Portland Trail Blazers today became the first major sports team to earn LEED Gold status for a major league sports facility, a milestone in the greening of sports.

“The Trail Blazers are proud to play a role in Portland’s drive to be the greenest city in the country,” said Larry Miller, President of the Portland Trail Blazers. “Today’s announcement is a result of the local expertise and innovation helping Portland foster a stronger, more sustainable economy. We don’t view this as a one-time achievement, but as an important step toward our long-term goals.”

This certification, awarded to the Rose Garden by the U.S. Green Building Council under their Leadership in Energy and Environmental program (LEED EB-O&M v.3 2009), identifies and rewards best practices for a building’s energy, water and natural resource performance.

Miller said that the team’s fans and Portland community are an important part of the effort to reach its sustainability targets.

“Our Portland fan base cares deeply about their impact on our natural heritage,” said Miller. “Oregon is one of the most beautiful, livable places on the planet, and commitment to being good environmental stewards is part of what defines our region. This is a team effort, involving all of us – working together.”

A partial list of the Trail Blazers’ sustainability initiatives includes:

· Recycling: The Trail Blazers have taken steps to ensure that more than 60 percent of our waste is diverted from local landfills, including strategies such as post-game sorting. Extensive recycling stations for visitors and a food-waste composting program with vendors help divert approximately 1,000 tons annually.

· Transportation: Located in Portland’s urban core, the Rose Quarter provides strong transportation choices for visitors, with more than 30 percent of attendees choosing public or alternative transportation—like Portland’s growing bike community. The team subsidizes transit passes for staff and utilizes bikes and electric vehicles for on-site operations.

· Energy, Gas and Water: In addition to upgrading to energy efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures, the Trail Blazers partner with Pacific Power and NW Natural for the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy programs for the Rose Garden.

· Purchasing: Our efforts include forging partnerships with suppliers to further develop sustainable purchasing, including more than 95 percent compostable food and beverage serving containers and materials, 100 percent recycled content trash liners, replacing disposables with re-usable commodities, utilizing green-certified chemicals and equipment, and offering guests a line of sustainable food and beverage alternatives.

“We are excited about today’s achievement, but understand that the drive for greater energy efficiency and sustainable operations is an ongoing process,” said AEG Facilities Chris Oxley, General Manager of the Rose Quarter. “We will continue to look for opportunities to further engage and involve our employees, guests and partners.”

The Trail Blazers, in conjunction with NBA Green Week, will host their annual Green Game against the Dallas Mavericks on April 9.

The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a leader in the movement for the greening of sports, praised today’s LEED certification.

“Today’s announcement by the Portland Trail Blazers that the Rose Garden Arena has achieved LEED Gold Certification is an authentic milestone in the greening of professional sports,” said Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist and Director of NRDC’s Sports Greening Initiative. “Never before has any major league sports arena or stadium achieved LEED Gold status and it represents an accomplishment with likely consequences well beyond professional basketball.”

Hershkowitz noted the transformative power of sports as a force for behavior change.

“Professional sports is among the most culturally influential industries on Earth,” he said. “Outside of the family, professional athletes are among the world’s most influential role models. From young children to major employers, what professional sports teams do is noticed and emulated throughout the world. With this announcement, the Portland Trail Blazers have let all sectors of our society know that we can meaningfully address the threats to our planet, that all businesses, even those that operate large and complex sporting arenas, can reduce energy use, protect our climate, and protect biodiversity. NRDC applauds the Trail Blazers’ path breaking accomplishment and we urge all facility operators, whether they manage a professional arena or a schoolhouse, to follow this meaningful example.”

Local partners in the effort to achieve certification included Green Building Services, who performed a carbon footprint and sustainability analysis, and Energy Trust of Oregon, who helped enable key energy audits and secure funding for building retrofitting.

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