San Francisco 49ers
Excellent alternative transportation, recycled materials, water conservation, a green roof, a large PV array, and sophisticated building controls helped the 49ers score the NFL’s first LEED Gold stadium certification.
Completed in 2014 and host of the 2016 Super Bowl, Levi’s Stadium was the first NFL stadium to achieve Gold certification under the LEED for New Construction green building rating system. Since opening, the Levi’s Stadium has also achieved Gold certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations + Maintenance (EB:O+M) rating system.
The $1.3-billion development relocated the San Francisco 49ers from Candlestick Park in the city of San Francisco to Santa Clara, at the south end of San Francisco Bay, adjacent to the city of San Jose. This relocation brought the team closer to its training facilities and headquarters – and closer to Silicon Valley, which contributed to the design of what is being called the most technologically-advanced sports stadium in the world (Bloomberg Business).
While it is best known as home to the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium also hosts a variety of major events throughout the year, including national and international sporting events; musical acts from Taylor Swift to the Grateful Dead; and massive events like monster truck rallies and Wrestlemania.
The stadium offers great views for 68,500 spectators, including 9,000 club seats and 176 luxury suites. Dining options range from a five-star steak house and upscale bars with local wine, to vegan hot dog stands and grass-fed beef burgers on locally-made buns.
Making Sustainability Visible
Sustainability abounds in great and small ways throughout the building and visitor experience. Renewable energy is one of the most visible sustainability strategies pursued within the facility. Forty-nine racks of solar panels (1,150 panels in total) with a capacity of 384 kilowatts line the stadium’s rooftop terrace. This solar PV system generates enough energy to power the team’s 10 home games each season, making 49ers home games net-zero.
The rooftop terrace also features a 27,000-square-foot green roof garden with 16 species, including many drought-tolerant plants, a visible environmental commitment that also winks at the team’s nostalgia for the number 16, which marked the jersey of famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.
The stadium connects to Santa Clara’s recycled water system, making it the first stadium in California to use a drought-proof water source for an impressive 85 percent of all water consumed within the stadium. Recycled water flushes toilets and urinals and irrigates the 27,000-square-foot green roof and playing field, planted with drought-friendly Bermuda Bandera grass.
The six electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot can charge up to 12 electric vehicles at once. Fans find trash, compost, and recycling bins side-by-side, making waste reduction easy. Ongoing energy production and other green features of the stadium are shared prominently on real-time displays throughout the building.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Levi’s Stadium wanted to create the most technologically advanced and integrated visitor experience possible, resulting in multiple industry firsts. While intense user demand and massive construction elements typically render WiFi and phone service inoperable within most stadiums, Levi’s Stadium ensured that visitors would enjoy instant and unimpeded connectivity. Not only can visitors share their photos and memories without lag or interruption, they can access unparalleled digital services provided by the stadium as well.
For example, visitors to the stadium can use their smart phones and tablets to order food directly from their seats without missing action on the field. They can also use GPS to find the nearest concessionaires and restrooms — even to learn which restrooms have the shortest line. Art and photos on the wall throughout the Stadium can be scanned for information and purchasing options. Fans can even watch instant replays on their own phones just seconds after the whistle has blown.
The Stadium also boasts the largest outdoor HDTV boards in the world over each end zone. At 48 by 200 feet, they can clarify action for fans and even be watched by players as they sprint toward the goal line.
Stadium Construction and Financing
By using a first-of-its-kind hybrid design-build model that required frequent collaboration between the owner and project team to achieve an incredibly aggressive project timeline, Levi’s Stadium became the NFL’s most quickly-constructed stadium. Construction began in April of 2012, and Levi’s Stadium opened July 17, 2014. The Stadium was financed in a unique partnership with Goldman Sachs to eliminate taxpayer burden often associated with the construction of stadiums.
Super Bowl 50
To celebrate the new stadium’s advanced sustainable design – and help the Super Bowl improve its environmental image – the Super Bowl selected Levi’s Stadium to host Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The Super Bowl 50 host committee established a “Net Positive” plan for the event, based on four pillars:
- Reducing its impact on climate change
- Using resources and materials responsibly
- Inspiring fans to embrace sustainability personally
- Leaving a positive legacy for the region
- Wall Street Journal
“SF 49ers New Home Stadium Sets NFL Green Standards”
- Bloomberg Business
“Welcome to the Most Tech-Savvy Stadium in America”
- Goldman Sachs
“Progress is when a beloved team can build a new stadium and help a local economy grow”