Blog: Greening the Game

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend (and our Pittsburgh Steelers watching from home), we thought we would check in on what Houston is doing to “Green” Super Bowl LI (51).  Green Sports has become a rapidly growing industry in 2016, with many professional and collegiate teams getting on board to reduce the waste that can be associated with major sporting events.

Last year, The Bay Area went all out on Super Bowl 50, which could arguably be called the Greenest Super Bowl yet.  To start, they held Super Bowl 50 in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, which is a LEED Gold facility and has some amazing features:

  • The stadium uses 85% reclaimed water for flush fixtures and irrigation
  • It has a 27,000-square foot green roof with native plants
  • It has more than 1150 solar panels

But the Super Bowl Committee, as part of their commitment to host a “Net Positive” event, also:

  • Established a bike valet of 856 bikes at Super Bowl City for the entire 9-day event
  • Provided a charter bus system which ran on renewable diesel (removing 2000 vehicles from the road)
  • Ran Super Bowl City on clean, temporary power supplied by renewable diesel generators, which reduced emissions and improved air quality
  • Served locally-sourced and/or organic food in Super Bowl City
  • Gave 860 pounds of unused food to local food banks
  • Donated 10,000 reusable water bottles to Host Committee volunteers and media and provided fans with two free water stations to help eliminate the use of plastic water bottles.  They supplied 1,925 gallons of water, which diverted 14,580 single use plastic bottles from landfill.
  • Distributed $200,000 from the Sustainable Environments Game Changer Grant to local organizations

Watch more on the charter buses running on renewable diesel at last year’s game.


According to the Houston Super Bowl website, they are supporting the theme of green sports with local events, use of renewable energy, and food/material recovery at, and following, the game. There have been a number of activities throughout the month of January, such as a Pollinator Planting Project, Urban Forestry Initiative to plant trees around Houston, a sports equipment and book collection, used cell phone collection, and an e-waste recycling rally.

NRG will be providing renewable energy certificates (RECs) equivalent to the electricity usage at Super Bowl venues throughout Houston, including NRG Stadium, George R. Brown Convention Center (site of the NFL Experience) and the hotels being used by both teams and NFL Super Bowl staff, to mitigate the climate impact of energy emissions.

Extra prepared food from Super Bowl events will go to the Houston Food Bank and local non-profit organizations, and event materials (e.g. building materials, décor, fabric, carpeting and signage) will be collected immediately following the game and donated to local organizations who can reuse or repurpose them.

After such a huge success in the Bay Area with Super Bowl 50, Houston has a lot to live up to, so we’ll all be watching this weekend.  Good luck to the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons!

1) Super Bowl 50 An Environmental Sustainability Champion, February 7th, 2016 by Adam Johnston
2) Lew Blaustein, Green Sports Blog: Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Sustainability Scorecard
3) Houston Super Bowl: Super Bowl LI to Develop “Green” Legacy for Greater Houston Area