How are you spending your Super Bowl Sunday?
One of America’s most infamous pastimes is watching football. We have created an entire culture around it, but what fans rarely stop to think about is the massive carbon footprint that comes along with the big game day. Whether you will be at the stadium watching it in person or in your living room, you are impacting the environment in some way.
What does this impact look like?
It is estimated that over 1 million people will be flocking to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl over the course of 2 weeks. The majority of people are staying for a week prior to the game to enjoy the festivities. Of course, this is great for the city’s local economy. However, when a city has to accommodate triple the amount of people than its normal population in a short amount of time, it can have a huge impact on the environment.
With the number of people in the area tripled, there will be 3x more energy resources needed and 3x more waste generated. And while over 100 million people around the country tune-in, their individual electricity usage at home also goes up.
The 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis alone used around 15,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power about 1,400 average U.S. homes for a year, and it was all used in one night.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the game and be energy efficient at the same time. And the NFL is already making strides to make it even easier for fans to keep the festivities sustainable. In fact, they have been thinking about how to make the games more energy efficient for the last 14 years.
Why is this year different?
In past years, the NFL environmental program has implemented recycling programs, donated extra food to food banks, and set up a materials donation for nonprofit organizations.
This year, they are taking their efforts a step further. The NFL will be offsetting the electricity usage of the Super Bowl with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The director of the National Football Leagues environmental program, Jack Groh, and his team will be calculating the amount of energy used during the Super Bowl and offsetting those fossil fuels with investments in renewable energy.
RECs, which all of our members can invest in for free through the Arcadia platform, were created to allow tracking of renewable electricity – which is physically impossible – from the source (e.g. wind turbine, solar farm) to the end user (you, or the NFL). A REC is a claim on the social, environmental, and other non-power related attributes of electricity produced by renewable sources.
The NFL will also be planting trees to help with this offset. Combined, these initiatives will make the event carbon negative.
How can you help at home?
If you’re at the stadium…
- Recycle your waste.
- Dispose of any trash.
- Keep your use of your personal electronic devices to a minimum (that Tweet can wait, we promise).
If you’re out…
- Ask to use the same cup to refill your drink at the bar.
- Only get refills of water when you need them.
- Try not to overorder food (even though, yes, this is hard for us too).
If you’re at home…
- Gather around 1 tv rather than several around the house.
- Get together with a lot of friends, instead of watching with a small group.
- Buy compostable party supplies.
- Recycle as much waste as you can.
- Have vegetarian options!