Sustain Our State: Gameday and Everyday
At NC State University, athletics is hard at work putting sustainable initiatives into action. Answering the call to "greenify" NC State, the athletics department has already implemented many different projects into their programs. Becoming more sustainable is a chance to teach Wolfpack fans everywhere positive habits to enhance our society and environment.
Wolfpack Athletics Sustainability Projects
During the typical pre-game festivities at Carter-Finley Stadium and Reynolds Coliseum, many cans and bottles are quickly emptied and converted into recyclables. To prevent these bottles and cans from ending up in the landfill, recycling bins are placed throughout parking lots and the concourse area. WE Recycle volunteers also patrol parking areas educating fans about recycling while handing out clear recycling bags. Fans can fill their clear bags with recyclables, tie them and leave them on the ground for pick-up. After each game, contractors clean up the bags and separate them into recycling or landfill roll-offs. Since the WE Recycle program began in 2003, more than 245 tons of recyclable material has been diverted from the landfill.
"Greener" Athletics Facilities and Grounds
NC State athletics is planning upgrades to the building envelope and infrastructure, lighting, water conservation, energy efficiency, recycling, HVAC automation, and space use/allocation. Plans are also underway to include an orientation curriculum for new athletes and coaches. By implementing these programs, athletics will be redefining what "green" means to sports.
Building Infrastructure and Envelope
In the next five years, many of the current buildings will require upgrades or replacement. Athletics has made it a goal to incorporate sustainable designs and "smart" infrastructure, to keep buildings healthy, clean and running smoothly.
Every building needs to be well-lit, and finding the best way to light a building in an energy-efficient manner, without sacrificing performance can be hard. Athletics is working on a plan to replace inefficient T12 fluorescent lights with more efficient T8 bulbs.
Water Use and Conservation
NC State has made great strides conserving water in recent years, and athletics uses all possible measures to save water in their operations. In the future, it will be integrating new laundry technologies, as well as tank-less water heaters and low-flow showers and toilets in all of their facilities.
Electrical Energy Efficiencies
Working with a mechanical and automation service provider, athletics is looking to cut drastically energy consumption at Vaughn Towers. Results will be achieved through using a combination of window tinting and installing new lighting and solar shades.
Conserving fuel not only saves money, but reduces the amount of emissions from vehicles. By monitoring and controlling vehicle usage and maintenance and replacing vehicles with more fuel efficient ones, athletics is saving fuel and reducing costs.
HVAC Automation and Operation
Athletics recognizes that one of the biggest energy consumers for most buildings is heating and cooling. To combat these problems, a repair/replacement plan is being developed, which will boost efficiency and reduce wasted energy.
Facility Space Use/Allocation
Space is always in short supply, and athletics is committed to scheduling its space efficiently. With proper use of existing technology, renovation and reallocation can be utilized before considering new construction.
Athletics is committed to integrating sustainability into the lives of athletes and coaches, and plans to teach sustainability objectives during their new student/employee orientation.
The Big "Green" Event
On Feb. 21, NC State athletics will host its first ever green event when the Wolfpack faces North Carolina in a 7 p.m. contest at Reynolds Coliseum. The game will will feature waste stations consisting of composting, recycling and trash bins. Steps have been taken to ensure beverage and food containers are either recyclable or compostable. Additionally, students who attend the game will receive t-shirts made from 100 percent recycled material and donated by SustainU Clothing. During the game, student volunteers will staff the waste stations to guide users in sorting disposables. Student groups will walk the aisles to collect recyclables left behind after the game and the regular contractor will pick up trash items. The annual BIG Event will take place before the game on North Talley Plaza from 5-6 p.m. Athletic Director Debbie Yow will greet the crowd and University Dining will give students a chance to win a trip for two to the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four. Games, giveaways and a DJ will help create an exciting atmosphere for this fierce rivalry.
Led by The Campus Environmental Sustainability Team (CEST), with support from the University Sustainability Office, the Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) creates a unified approach to furthering sustainability at NC State, as well as instilling a culture of sustainability at the university. CEST has been facilitating an open-planning process in which anyone can participate in one of the eight working groups in the focus areas of academics and research, buildings, communications, energy and water, land use, materials and purchasing, transportation and waste reduction and recycling. Currently in draft form, the SSP establishes five-year strategies across the focus areas, each of which will affect athletics. The draft additionally integrates and is supported by the Climate Action Plan, showing how NC State will achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to reach climate neutrality by 2050. Given that 87 percent of NC State's "carbon footprint" is from energy use, the SSP is also supported by a five-year Strategic Energy Plan with details on achieving energy management goals. A final SSP is expected by late 2011.
The 2008 NC State University Greenhouse Gas Inventory provided an estimate of how much greenhouse gas is being emitted by the university each year. This "carbon footprint" includes athletics' energy use and air travel. If the university can get a better idea of where and how the campus creates greenhouse gas, it can figure out a way to reduce it. The Climate Action Plan (CAP), released in 2010, establishes that NC State will achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and lays out a plan to reduce greenhouse gases. When the CAP strategies are implemented, NC State will see a projected 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2015.
The Change Your State Campaign is a sustainability outreach and education initiative, with the goal of getting students on board with making "greener" personal choices. The first wave of the campaign focuses on energy conservation. By raising awareness about how energy is used (and wasted) at NC State, the campaign hopes to reduce energy usage across campus by five percent. Athletics supports the initiative and is tying energy conservation tips into sporting events.
Sustainability Public Service (PSA) announcements
Coming soon to a sporting event near you, are brand new 30- and 60-second public service announcements, highlighting sustainability on NC State's campus. These PSAs will urge students, faculty, alumni, and fans to act more sustainably with the message, making our campus sustainable is "up to us."
A high quality version of the PSA is available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every year, the Annual Sustainability Report provides a snapshot of NC StateâÂ€TMs sustainability progress. By documenting the progress of sustainability initiatives, the whole university is able to see what our campus is doing to become more sustainable, including our sporting events. The report also serves as a fantastic tool to show other universities what our school has been doing to improve sustainability.
In an exciting field of study, Dr. Tom Rufty, Crop Science professor, is leading the charge to research the carbon sequestration potential of turfgrass. Turfgrasses can absorb carbon emissions, and store the emissions in the plant itself. If a field is optimized for carbon sequestration, an average sized football field can sequester up to half a ton of carbon per year.
Reducing Paper Usage Saves TreesIn the last year, NC State athletics has cut back drastically on its use of paper generated by the department. As of last year, media guides and yearbooks for most sports were eliminated, in favor of on-line media guides on www.GoPack.com. While recycling paper has become a standard practice at NC State, not using the paper at all goes even a step further towards sustainability and cost reduction.
Dr. Jonathan Casper, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management assistant professor, along with his colleagues is researching and documenting the benefits college and universities are experiencing from enhanced athletics sustainability programs. One such publication is a national review of college athletic programs and sustainability.
Kay Yow Spring Football Game: Concourse Composting
On Saturday, April 12, 2014, NC State's Waste Reduction and Recycling Department piloted composting on the concourse for the first time ever at Carter-Finley Stadium! Volunteers from the EcoVillage were at each waste station to help fans sort their waste into compost, recycle and landfill bins. The stadium contractors also separated compost, recycle and landfill waste while cleaning up the bowl after the game. This zero waste initiative diverted compost and recycling waste that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.