Levi's Stadium Gets the GoldGold

By Louise Bilham, September 4th, 2014


The Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, replacing San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. With 68,500 seats, this $1.2 billion dollar venue is set to be one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues, hosting a wide variety of events for the Bay Area.


Levi Stadium
     "Levi's Stadium" , CC BY- SA 2.0 by  Mathew Roth
Generally, these large stadiums consume immense amounts of energy and create huge quantities of waste. In a remarkable effort the Levi’s Stadium architects and engineers prioritized green technology and sustainability, making it the first home to a professional football team to achieve LEED Gold certification.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system developed by the US Green Building Council. To be LEED certified buildings are assessed by the following criteria:

Cert• Energy

• Water efficiency

• Materials and resources

• Indoor quality

• Sustainable sites

The LEED scoring system has four levels (Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum), and buildings in California are required to be certified with a minimum of LEED Silver. For a stadium of this magnitude, to receive a LEED Gold certification is a great achievement.


“The Bay Area is a world leader in sustainable efforts, and achieving LEED Gold certification for Levi’s Stadium is another example of our desire to showcase all that is special about the region. Our design team, partners and contractors have helped Levi’s Stadium become the environmentally responsible building we had envisioned”, Jed York, 49ers CEO


How has the Levi’s Stadium achieved this milestone?


1.      Solar technology

The stadium has over 1000 solar elements throughout the building, including three 375kW solar powered pedestrian bridges and a solar canopy. This solar technology will create enough energy to power the ten 49ers home games each year.

The solar canopy also powers the 20,000 square foot green roof above the suite tower which contains large quantities of local vegetation used to insulate the suites.


2.      Transportation

     "Bike Racks at Levi's Stadium" , CC BY- SA 2.0 : by Richard Masomer

The stadium is within walking distance from the Amtrak and Caltrain stations. It is estimated that 25% of fans will travel to the stadium via public transport, which is more than double the number of fans who travelled to watch the games in Candlestick Park.

A bike path leading to the stadium will be in use on game days and there is a bicycle valet service with the capacity for 750 bikes.

Nearby parking lots at the Great America Theme Park, the local college and local garages account for over 21,000 parking spaces and there is also the option to rent parking spaces from the local tech companies. This has reduced the need for additional concrete to be laid down to build new parking facilities at the stadium.


3.      Recycling of Water and Materials

85% of the overall water used in the stadium is recycled. Recycled water is used for landscape irrigation, including watering the green roof and flushing toilets and urinals. This will result in huge water savings.

Recycled and reclaimed building materials have been used where possible in the stadium. For example, the wood used in the Citrix Owner Suites is reclaimed wood from a local airplane hanger at Moffett Field in Mountain View. The stadium will also be recycling and composting wherever possible.


4.      Food

Foodcourt in Levi
     "FoodCourt at Club Level" , CC BY- NC 2.0 : by Rocor

The Levi’s Stadium is supporting the regions agricultural economy by locally sourcing 78% of the food sold at the stadiums food vendors. In the future they also hope to grow herbs on the green roof that can be used in the food. Importing ingredients from far away uses unnecessary fuel leading to higher green house gas emissions. Therefore local sourcing is much better for the environment. There is also a large selection of vegetarian and vegan food options available at the stadium.


“The vision for an energy efficient and visually stunning stadium has been realised. We’ve never strayed from what we wanted the Levi’s Stadium to represent and that is a place to comfortably enjoy exciting sports and entertainment events and a venue that sparks a new view of what sustainability and being environmentally conscious can look like,” Paraag Marathe, San Francisco 49ers President.


The Levi’s stadium has set a new standard for sustainability, and we hope to see more stadiums achieving LEED certification in the future.


Further reading;

How the 49ers are upping their game by going green?

What the Levi's Stadium are doing to be more sustainable

Green roof, solar panels and recycled water

NRG and solar technology


49ers and sustainability

CEO Jed York press announcement

Recycled water

Stadium food

NRG and Levi's Stadium



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