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Ryan Berlin January 3, 2018 -
While the hopes of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons season comes down to week 17, the team’s athletic facility has already earned the highest marks when it comes to being green. In mid-November 2017, the 2 million-square-foot Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta became the world’s first LEED Platinum–certified professional sports stadium. The home of the Falcons and the Atlanta United Major League Soccer (MLS) club, the stadium hosts 4,000 photo-voltaic panels, which should generate 1.6 million kilowatt hours per year—enough to power nine football games—and has enough electric vehicle connections to charge 48 cars at once, according to an article on architecturalrecord.com. Among many other green features, Mercedes-Benz Stadium boasts a 680,000-square-foot cistern that can store 2 million gallons of rainwater, for both water-conservation and flood-control purposes. (The project sits at the top of the Proctor Creek watershed, just north of flood-prone downtown Atlanta.) Worldwide, there are more than 30 LEED-certified sports venues, according to the U.S. Green Buildings Council, but with 88 LEED points of a possible 110—the most of any athletic facility to date, and notably earning all possible credits for water—the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the most impressive, and most recent, example of a growing trend. “Seven or eight years ago, we’d have to bring up the topic of sustainability with clients,” says Chris DeVolder, an architect who worked on Mercedes-Benz Stadium for almost four years. “Now we’re talking about it on every project.” This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.