As the US Open turns 50 and we reveal a transformed USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the USTA continues to expand its decade long sustainability program. Throughout this endeavor, the US Open works with eco evolutions llc, an expert in the field of sustainability; the Green Sports Alliance, a unique collaboration between sports leagues, venues and teams; and most recently Sport and Sustainability International, an influential sustainability network connected through sport globally.
Impact of the US Open Green Initiatives
Since 2008, over 4,000 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 600 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 over 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.
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.
Additional environmental considerations made during the planning and construction of the new Armstrong Stadium include:
• Landscaping around the Armstrong stadium is designed to use 55% less water than traditional landscaping.
• More than 10% of the materials used in Armstrong’s construction were made from recycled materials.
• The Armstrong Stadium is located close to public transportation, encouraging fans to take mass transit and help reduce the carbon footprint.
• Low-emitting paints and finishes were used in the Armstrong’s construction to reduce the emission of pollutants.
• Waste generated in the Armstrong stadium is recycled and composted to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Humanitarian Carbon Offset Program
For the past several years, the USTA has been offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the estimated 3.5 million miles the players travel to compete at the US Open. For the 2018 US Open, the USTA has enhanced this program through climate-intelligent humanitarian initiatives. This year’s focus is to invest the offsets in purchasing improved cookstoves in Malawi. In Malawi, a majority of households use inefficient open fires for cooking which has detrimental impacts not only on the environment but the health of the women and girls who do most of the cooking. These improved cookstoves save over 3 tons of firewood and 6 tons of CO2 emissions each year – contributing to the environment on a global scale. On a more local scale, the project results in a cleaner cooking option for those young women and girls who were dying from respiratory disease caused by cooking over an open fire with little or no ventilation.
While the USTA makes every effort to divert the waste generated by the US Open from ending up in landfill but as with any live event, some material is unable to be diverted. For this reason, the USTA is offsetting the carbon footprint resulting from this waste by contributing to the same improved cookstoves project in Malawi.
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, over 600 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 2017 US Open approximately 95% of waste was diverted from landfills.
At the conclusion of the 2018 US Open, the USTA will be donating the metal lids from the tennis ball cans used during the event to the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, NY. These metal lids will contribute to the Ronald McDonald House’s Pull Tab Collection Program to benefit that home. The USTA will also work with Terracycle to recycle and find a new life for the empty tennis ball cans remaining following the tournament.
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!