By: Nora Prevoznak - Associated Renewable, Inc.
The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York has opened to host NBA basketball team the Nets, and the NHL hockey team the Islanders. It is an 18,200 seat arena that will host over 220 events annually, designed by the award-winning architectural firms Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects. The New York Times described its exterior as rusted, reddish-brown with 12,000 grainy weathered-steel panels devised by the latest computer modeling: a digital-age extrusion of hard-core industrial glamour. They called it the anti-Manhattan monument, because it appears progressive – like its borough. It is not a beautiful complex, but is technologically smart with new mass transit and an underground turntable for trucks. The arena also worked sustainability into its design and will be aiming to achieve a LEED certification.
Over fifteen professional sports venues in the US and Canada have received LEED certification. To achieve LEED certification the building needs to meet a variety of building standards including appropriate materials, energy efficiency measures, indoor air quality & water use, among others. Green buildings, including these arenas, are designed to minimize environmental impacts and make use of the surrounding natural environment. The sports industry realizes by making their buildings sustainable and energy efficient, that it can lead to financial paybacks and provide an additional way to increase the venues visibility. The Barclays center, which faces some criticism from Brooklynites for its design and overwhelming presence in the area, should carefully promote its sustainable features for brand enhancement.
The Barclays arena includes a better transit oriented design, a green roofed subway entrance and a large covered area with a giant oculus. The green roof is on top of the subway entrance and can be clearly seen from photos. The Barclays center is run by AEG, the German company that is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and events, so it will be part of its 1EARTH commitment to environmental stewardship. AEG’s Ecometrics tracking system collects resource use and waste generation data from all AEG-owned facilities, including measurements for electricity, water, natural gas, carbon, sustainable paper products, green cleaning and other environmental products. This will surely impact what goes on inside the stadium including waste and recycling.
The most important feature is the expanded subway stop, making the Barclays Center the arena with the most extensive public transportation options. The subway stop was designed to go directly beneath the Barclays center, so people do not even have to cross the street to enter. The stop connects to nine New York City subway lines, as well as the Long Island Rail Road. LEED certification is based on a scorecard and point system; a silver rating requiring 33 to 38 points. Under the Sustainable Sites category is mass transit other options like alternative fuel or hybrid shuttle buses, which earn a lot of points. For a site that needs fans to come from different locations easily and comfortably, scaling up transportation access must have been a no-brainer for the design team. Therefore, achieving LEED becomes an obvious, and less cumbersome, undertaking.
This fall, USA Today published a controversial article arguing that the majority of LEED commercial buildings target the easiest and cheapest green points. The article argued that there is a tendency just to buy points by making measures that may not have real value once in place. The most popular (and easiest) options to achieve LEED include hiring a LEED accredited professional; using low emitting paints; using recycled materials; boosting energy performance, etc. Most of these can be achieved with minimal additional cost. Labor intensive options and new technology is usually not used. LEED does not require designers to take specific steps so buildings can chart their own course to certification.
It is not to say that LEED is flawed and the Barclays Center should have created a different type of complex, just that large arenas should be careful how they promote these green achievements because more people are aware of their ease.
To read more on LEED certification, please visit http://www.associatedrenewable.com/content/leed-green-building-certification
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