In Philadelphia, football fans chant, “Fly Eagles, fly!” to inspire the team to victory on the gridiron. Now, the Philadelphia Eagles are flying off the grid. The sports franchise is retrofitting its home stadium to be powered entirely by renewable energy generated on site.
A combination of dual-fuel heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines will be installed at Lincoln Financial Field over the next year in a US$30 million joint venture with energy solutions provider Solar Blue. The venture makes the Eagles the first professional sports team to play in an energy self sufficient stadium.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are proud to take this vital step towards energy independence from fossil fuels by powering Lincoln Financial Field with wind, solar and dual-fuel energy sources,” said team owner and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Lurie.
The team has made effort to become a good steward to the environment over many years. The Eagles recycled 365 tons of waste in 2009, through its “Go Green” environmental sustainability program. The team’s operations centers are already powered by sun and wind energy.
“This commitment builds upon our comprehensive environmental sustainability program, which includes energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, composting, toxic chemical avoidance and reforestation. It underscores our strong belief that environmentally sensitive policies are consistent with sound business practices,” Lurie said.
A number of other NFL franchises have moved the ball down the field toward sustainability. Last month, the New York Jets installed an array of 3,000 solar panels installed at its team headquarters in Florham Park, N.J.
In August, the NFL’s New England Patriots installed a 525-kilowatt (kW) solar array at Foxborough Massachusetts’s Patriot Place. The NFL’s Seattle Seahawks plays in solar panel equipped Qwest Field in Seattle, WA.
Likewise, teams in Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League have integrated solar energy into their own stadiums. NASCAR affiliated racetrack Pocono Raceway announced a solar farm comprised of 40,000 photovoltaic panels in July.