Our courts may be blue, but we continue to think green! The US Open’s Green Initiatives program is now a decade old and during this time there has been a significant impact on the environmental footprint of the toughest two weeks in tennis. Working in conjunction with eco evolutions llc, an expert in the field of sustainability, and the Green Sports Alliance, a unique collaboration between sports leagues, venues, and teams, the USTA has expanded upon the US Open’s green program each year – and 2017 is no exception!
Ten Years of Green Initiatives
Since 2008, over 3,400 tons of waste generated during the US Open has been diverted from landfills, saving over 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of 845 passenger cars being driven for a year. Through composting leftover organic matter, approximately 550 tons of food waste has been converted into nutrient rich compost for gardens and farms along with over 100 tons of food being donated to local communities. All US Open-related printed materials are composed of at least 30% post-consumer waste and enough recycled paper has been used to save 1,400 trees. Since the program began, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 94,000 metric tons through waste diversion, recycled paper use, and renewable energy certificates. Here’s to ten years of Green Initiatives and to many, many more!
With two LEED certified buildings under its belt, the USTA is happy to announce that the new Armstrong Stadium will be the first naturally ventilated stadium with a retractable roof in the world. The new stadium is designed to consume 28% less energy and will use 42% less water through waterless urinals and low flow plumbing fixtures. Plus, over 95% of the waste from the demolition of the original stadium was recycled.
Carbon Offsetting Program
In 2016 the USTA proudly reduced its annual carbon footprint by 12,000 MT CO2e. The USTA acquires carbon offsets for the estimated miles flown and driven by all players who attend the US Open as well as the estimated 800,000 miles traveled by its 9,000 employees. A special thank you to Champion Energy, the US Open’s energy supplier, who is donating Green-e certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the electricity consumed during the 2017 US Open.
Composting and Recycling
There are a number of ways in which the USTA continues to expand what can be done in terms of composting and recycling. Since the start of the US Open Green program in 2008, 550 tons of food waste has been converted to nutrient rich compost for gardens and farms and over 100 tons of food has been donated to local communities. Over 90% off all paper products used at the Open will be made out of recycled and/or compostable materials. Also, during the 2016 US Open approximately 97% of waste was diverted from landfills.
There are many fantastic strides being made at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to continue the USTA’s green endeavors. The lights in all of the stadiums have been replaced with LED lights which will reduce energy use by 50%. Water refill stations have been installed to encourage people to use refillable water bottles and to cut down on single-use bottles. The NTC also recently underwent improvements that include installing ultra-low-flow faucets that reduce water flow by 75%, including the Grandstand Stadium which uses 40% less water than standard buildings.
Another building on the NTC site that not too many people know about is the Transportation Building. It is in fact LEED certified and it utilizes energy saving heating, cooling, and LED lights which use 30% less energy, saving approximately 15,000kWh of energy per year. Low-emitting paints and finishes were used for the Transportation Building as well as the Grandstand Stadium to reduce the emission of pollutants. The Transportation Building also offers direct views and exposure to daylight for occupants in order to reduce the amount of lights needed during the day to, in turn, reduce energy use.
The most recent LEED certified building making up the USTA’s portfolio is the Welcome Center at the USTA National Campus which opened earlier this year in Orlando, Florida. Over 10% of the materials used in the building’s construction were made from recycled materials and over 90% of the waste from the construction was recycled. This building uses 35% less water and 25% less energy than standard buildings and also sports a white roof for reflecting heat. The Welcome Center provides bicycle racks, electric car chargers, car pool parking spots, and shuttles to mass transportation to promote the use of alternative commuting while making it more convenient for employees to do so. The irrigation for this building’s plants is supplied by reclaimed water, which minimizes the use of potable water, and the ponds on this site are used to collect and treat rainwater to reduce runoff.
The USTA has also worked with its maintenance companies to develop a green cleaning policy to ensure that at least 50% of all cleaning materials used on site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the National Campus are Green Seal Certified or equivalent.
• Invest in a reusable water bottle! Doing so will cut down on the environmental impact of single-use bottles plus you can refill at one of our many water refill stations throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
• Air conditioning is a savior on hot summer days but remember to close the door to any air conditioned rooms. By leaving the door open, the cool air will disperse and more energy will be required to cool the room you are in.
• Don’t throw out your dead batteries and empty ink cartridges! Those supplies as well as chargers, devices, and light bulbs are all e-waste and can be recycled wherever e-waste is collected.
• Plastic bags cannot be recycled with regular recyclable plastics; only select locations can recycle plastic bags. To cut down on the number of plastic bags sitting in landfills, use a reusable tote bag!