Feb 3, 2019

Atlanta stadium at forefront of NFL sustainability efforts

The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This year’s Super Bowl will be held in the most environmentally acclaimed sports stadium in the U.S., the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The 2-million-square-foot arena, designed by HOK, opened to the public in August 2017 and was the first professional sports stadium in the U.S. to achieve Platinum LEED certification, the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Why it matters: A typical NFL game may produce up to 35 tons of waste, or roughly 1.5 pounds per guest. Showcasing sustainability efforts at these highly watched and attended events will help educate fans, reduce operating costs for owners and ultimately lessen the environmental impact for surrounding neighborhoods.


  • The stadium is equipped with 82,500 square feet of LED lighting, which lasts 10 times longer than standard lighting and reduces energy use by up to 60%.
  • 4,000 onsite solar panels can generate 1.6 million kilowatt-hours, enough to power 10 Atlanta Falcons games or 13 Atlanta United soccer matches.
  • It's the first professional sports stadium in the U.S. to earn all LEED's water category credits, owing to the installation of an advanced storm water management system that can store over 2 million gallons of water, which helps reduce flooding risk to surrounding areas.
  • Fans can use any one of the 48 EV charging stations or take advantage of bike valets.

The big picture: The NFL has a long history of promoting sustainability across its organization to lessen the environmental impact of its events, starting with a pilot recycling program that debuted during the 1994 Super Bowl.

  • 2017 Draft Day in Philadelphia featured many sustainability initiatives, including solid-waste and food recovery programs.
  • New and old arenas are encouraged to adopt sustainable practices that demonstrate to fans both the environmental and economic benefits of sustainability.

Yes, but: There is still progress to be made with other stadiums during normal seasons. While 6 NFL stadiums currently have LEED certification, and others have clear plans in place, 6 operate absent any announced initiatives.

What to watch: Expect more stadiums to follow, as the NFL recently announced a membership with the Green Sports Alliance, an organization aimed at encouraging green and renewable practices at sporting events.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,094,068 — Total deaths: 58,773 — Total recoveries: 225,519Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 7,077 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: Wisconsin's governor called for a last-minute primary election delay. "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said on the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health