Reaching New Heights in Climate Action
- Success StoriesSuccess Stories 6m read Feb 9, 2024
A focus on carbon emissions unlocked operational efficiencies and new funding opportunities.
Al Davis did more than reshape the game of football in his renegade image. He left an enduring legacy for achievement and commitment to excellence that still pulses through every facet of the Raiders organization to this day.
In the modern NFL, that means more than putting a high-performing team on the field. Leadership is expected across a variety of issues – for the fans, as well as the local and global communities football teams belong to.
There may be few issues that drive greater cultural relevance to our shared experience than the threat of climate change. The Raiders organization, early in the planning and construction of Allegiant Stadium, placed a bet on balancing a state-of-the-art stadium experience with a purposeful sustainability program, and, in its gleaming facilities in its adopted city of Las Vegas, has already been recognized for its immediate impact – two of which include achieving LEED Gold certification, one of only seven NFL stadiums, and the Play to Zero Award from the Green Sports Alliance for its waste diversion program.
Waste diversion, a food collection program and the Raiders field grass composting – done through an onsite biomass machine that mixes grass clippings with soil – represent major contributions to emissions avoidance. That, along with a historic energy supply agreement with NV Energy in October of 2023, which on its own ensured that Allegiant Stadium will be the first NFL stadium to be powered exclusively by 100% local renewable energy.
NZero, a leading real-time data and decarbonization platform provider, quantifies emissions hourly and across scopes for Allegiant’s sustainability initiatives, providing insights and analysis for decarbonization efforts, and helps report and roadmap its net zero plan. After the NV Energy deal, our team validated that 87% of Allegiant Stadium’s emissions and 70% of the Raiders emissions came down to 0, bringing total emissions from a high of 16,606 MTCO2e in 2022 to a projected 4,726 MTCO2e in 2024.
"It's important to have visibility into our carbon emissions, understand where they are coming from and how we can decrease them moving forward. This will be impactful not only for us, but for others in the world of sports looking for examples of sustainable business in our industry. We're excited to work with NZero for insight and guidance on this important topic."
According to Rapid Transition Alliance, the global sport sector is estimated to be responsible for about 50-60 billion tonnes of CO2e per year, or the equivalent of 11-13 billion cars worth of emissions. As one of sports’ largest spectacles, this Sunday’s game has a legacy of leaving a considerable carbon footprint – in 2012, for instance, the game in Indianapolis used around 15,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power about 1,400 average U.S. homes for a year.
That’s not to say that for years the league, teams, cities, and performers haven’t explored ways to make their events or event spaces more sustainable. In past contests, a city’s host committee would work with local utility companies to purchase carbon offsets or renewable energy credits to support energy production from carbon-free sources; hold recycling programs; partner with Waste Management facilities to divert waste out of landfills or plant trees to help absorb carbon emissions.
This year, however, will be different, and historic. NZero estimates that the amount of electricity required to power the game at Allegiant Stadium throughout its roughly 4-hour runtime is 28 MWh. That’s equal to the power it would take for 46,052 households across the country to watch the game. But because the stadium is powered by 100% renewable energy, the country’s premier sporting event will have 0% electricity-associated emissions.
This groundbreaking achievement marks the first time sustainability efforts are driven by the sustainability goals of the host team and stadium themselves, without any additional environmental offset programs required or sponsored by any committee, corporation or the league itself.
What we hope is that February 11 represents Day 1 of a New Green Legacy in Sports. And in that spirit, send a direct challenge to the rest of the stadium operators in football, other sports leagues – across the country and around the world – to make their buildings more efficient, to engage in substantive initiatives that advance the integration of clean and renewable energy and align their sustainability goals toward decarbonization.
“The Las Vegas Raiders are proud to set the bar in sustainability not only for the NFL, but for sports around the world,” said Sandra Douglass Morgan, Raiders President. “Our reach and impact extend far beyond the game.”