Levi’s NFL stadium sets benchmark in water conservation

A Levi's stadium set to open next month in Calfornia as the new home of the San Francisco 49ers American Football team will run on recycled water, as part of a quest to become the greenest stadium in the country.

The stadium has been connected to the City of Santa Clara’s recycled water system, a move which will effectively make the venue drought-proof. The water source will account for about 85% of total water use within the stadium.

Recycled water will be used for playing field irrigation, a 27,000 sq.ft green roof, flushing toilets and cooling tower make-up water. According to Levi’s, while other US stadiums may plumbed for recycled water use, none are using it to the same extent.

Within the venue, low-flow water fixtures such as toilets, urinals and sinks will use 40% less water than conventional fixtures. The playing field also features Bermuda Bandera turf grass, which requires up to 50% less water than the average turf variety in the Bay Area.

Testing of the system was carried out by the City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities – according to its director Chris de Groot, utilising recycled water in such a variety of ways was a challenging proposition.

“We had to develop a new way to test both potable and recycled systems for a building of this size, and get approval from the California Department of Public Health. Through innovation and cooperative partnerships, we were able to achieve this new standard,” he said. 

Energy efficiency

The City of Santa Clara is recognised for having one of the most progressive recycled water programmes in Northern California, with recycled water accounting for 15% of its water supply.

The city-wide recycled water system is a cooperative partnership between the City of Santa Clara, regional wholesaler South Bay Water Recycling and the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

The $1.2bn Levi’s venue aims to be the first NFL stadium to open with a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold rating from the US Green Building Council. Other green features include energy efficient systems, solar power, and the use of recycled construction materials.

According to San Francisco 49ers vice president for stadium operations Jim Mercurio, the county of Calfornia is becoming increasingly susceptible to drought conditions and as such, the timing of this venue to showcase the benefits of water conservation couldn’t be better.

“Fans visiting the stadium will become more aware of the importance and viability of incorporating recycled water to encourage a sustainable Bay Area water supply,” he said.

Levi’s is well known for its water conservation efforts within its core denim business. In May edie reported on a talk that Levis Strauss CEO Chip Bergh gave, in which he gave an update on the company’s water reduction achievements.

Maxine Perella

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