North Texas Daily

UNT athletics sets national green standard

UNT athletics sets national green standard

UNT athletics sets national green standard
September 03
07:59 2013

John Lugo / Intern

The UNT athletics department is being recognized for its efforts to build and run Apogee Stadium on a green initiative.

In a recent study by the National Resource Defense Council, the stadium is reviewed for being the first sports venue in the nation to be awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification, which means Apogee scored in the top tier of energy- and resource-efficient buildings in the country.

The study, which was published in August, explains how UNT benefits from student involvement, future green efforts, gathering opinions from a diverse team to meet interest of the stakeholders and how the cost of building the stadium will be returned soon with how much money the university is saving with these green methods.

Athletic Director Rick Villarreal said the university saved a lot of money by gathering resources and equipment from businesses within 500 miles of Denton, rather than looking throughout the country for what was needed. He also said there was an emphasis on using materials that were safer than what you find in a typical venue.

Villarreal said that when groups come in to visit the stadium, they see the green efforts that were made in the building process. From the use of nontoxic paint to the wind turbines that help sustain electricity, the result was a venue that is being recognized nationwide.

Students cheer on the Mean Green during Saturday's game at Apogee Stadium. -- Photo by Ryan Vance / Intern

“We built this stadium a little ahead of schedule and under budget,” Villarreal said. “At the     end of the day, those wind turbines produce 10 to 12 percent of [the stadium’s] electricity,      and when you add all those things up, over time we will make money.”

The wind turbines received attention in the study, as they have saved the school additional    energy costs and carbon emissions.

Assistant Director of UNT Sustainability Lauren Helixon said in the report that the turbines  not only contribute to the school’s sustainability, but also serve as a symbol of  environmental responsibility and a tool that the community can learn from.

UNT also saved resources, energy and money by collecting rainwater that falls in the    stadium and feeding that into nearby ponds, using wood that was properly harvested and    using natural light when possible.

Future expansion plans will also be held to LEED certification.

“The stadium serves as an example for future construction projects on campus,” Helixon said in the report. “In addition, as the first university with a LEED Platinum collegiate football stadium, UNT has set the bar high for other universities.”

Since the beginning, the process of building the stadium was never about trying to find ways to raise the LEED certification score, but simply expanding on the possibilities and seeing where the university can go with this project.

“During the 14-month design and planning process, it was a constantly changing landscape of what was possible,” Villarreal said. “It was never about buying points or just adding extra features for the sake of a higher certification. It was about exploring the improved technology that we could effectively integrate into our operations.”

Villarreal said he fully expects the university to continue to keep those standards in mind when additional buildings and other areas of campus are built.

Feature photo by Ryan Vance / Intern 

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