“We are now asking the question of whether you
can design a stadium to create a more comfortable
environment for longer stretches of time in case of
power outages and whether the building is ready if
disaster occurs,” Aye says.
While some stadia are designed with the potential
to support large populations when storms, or
earthquakes strike, those older questions of whether
the building can be designed for net zero energy, waste
and water are still crucial.
Before working with designers, Aye carries out
a climate change impact assessment. For a city such
as San Francisco, climate change has already had a
major impact. In a climate assessment by UC Berkley,
it revealed the area’s average annual maximum
temperature has risen by 1.7oF (0.9oC) since 1950.
Coastal fog is less frequent, sea levels have risen and
there has been unprecedented coastal erosion from
storms. Droughts and severe fires have also become
more likely in California.
RWDI’s climatologists feed this type of data to
stadium designers, who need to take it into account. It’s
no longer enough to aim solely for LEED. Designers
should also aim for other certificates, such as the RELi
standard for resilient design and Ashrae Standard 55
for thermal comfort. “When you know where the
climate is going you have to design buildings
accordingly,” says Aye.
The urgency to mitigate climate change makes it
essential to upgrade older facilities too, in order
to reduce their carbon footprint. For the past 10 years,
Aye has been working as an advisor on the
redevelopment of the multi-purpose Moda Center,
home of professional basketball team, the Portland
Trail Blazers. Acknowledging it could take years to
achieve, Aye has set the most ambitious possible goal
of the Moda Center becoming “the greenest stadium
in the world”.
She has adopted a “top-down, bottom-up”
approach, which involves working with both venue
managers and stadium staff to establish and implement
initiatives around sustainability, improved
communication of its green goals to fans, and
reductions in single-occupancy journeys.
A series of charters around greenhouse gas
emissions, energy and waste reduction and
transportation management have also been set up.
“The top-down, bottom-up approach is about
addressing sustainability goals holistically. We
The Golden 1 Center’s
downtown location has helped
reduce greenhouse gases as
fans are now able to travel to the
venue using mass transportation
We’re seeing stadia integrated with downtown
commerce, the hotel market, science, technology
and education. This helps make downtown areas
sustainable in the broader sense”
Elaine Aye, associate regional manager and sustainability consultant, RWDI
www.stadia-magazine.com June 2019 37