Winning on the field is important to every team in the National Football League. But generating wins off the field is just as important to the local community.
The San Francisco 49ers opened their new venue — Levi’s Stadium — in 2014 in Santa Clara, California. In addition to hosting 49ers games, the stadium welcomes other events, including concerts and a wide range of sports events.
But this stadium is the first of its kind in several ways. For starters, all 68,500 seats at Levi’s Stadium are recyclable, which means some day in the future when the stadium is no longer usable, it won’t create a landfill full of plastic.
But that’s just the beginning of the sustainability efforts Levi’s Stadium has implemented. Levi’s is the first NFL stadium to be LEED Gold certified — Leadership in Energy Environmental Design — mainly through its use of recycled water.
“Like the solar panels and rooftop garden here at Levi’s Stadium, advocacy and awareness are vital parts to the overall goal of sustainability,” said 49ers EDU Senior Director Jesse Lovejoy. “Since opening in 2014, our building has cemented itself as a leader in sustainable design among global sports and entertainment venues. Now, not only does our stadium help the planet with daily water conservation practices, but it serves to inspire the next generation of environmentally friendly citizens.”
Since opening in 2014, Levi’s Stadium has made sustainability and water conservation a priority by implementing water-saving practices all over the facility. The venue led the way as the first in California to connect to its city’s recycled water system, which it taps into for playing surface irrigation, watering the stadium’s green roof and in the restroom plumbing.
About 85 percent of the water Levi’s Stadium uses is recycled water provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Use of recycled water and the installation of water-efficient fixtures have helped reduce water consumption in the stadium by 44 percent since 2014.
Teaching Future Generations to Conserve
The 49ers and Levi’s have also created a new virtual “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education program focusing on environmental sustainability. The program emphasizes water conservation, how both brands use sustainable practices in their respective businesses, and how kids can save water in their own lives.
“This 49ers EDU Virtual Lesson takes our commitment to the Earth to the next level by educating and encouraging youth to save water,” Lovejoy said.
The virtual lesson features short cameos from 49ers stars Jimmie Ward, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Arik Armstead, and teaches children and adults about the value of conservation and how to help the planet.
As with the stadium itself, Levi Strauss & Co. is involved in the STEAM project and helping the 49ers in their conservation efforts.
“Levi Strauss is proud to team up with another iconic Bay Area and American institution, the San Francisco 49ers, to convey the importance of water conservation to young people and the public at large,” said Jeffrey Hogue, chief sustainability officer for Levi Strauss & Co. “It speaks to our mutual commitment to sustainability in our operations and to helping educate and inspire the next generation of sustainability leaders.”
The efforts are working. Since opening the venue in 2014, Levi’s Stadium has saved close to 100 million gallons of water, which is nearly enough to fill the stadium.