Energy and Climate Change
The Gators were the first athletic program in the country to be carbon neutral, part of UF’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. The UAA, in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability and Neutral Gator, an initiative of the nonprofit Earth Givers, LLC, began by offsetting Gator football in 2008, followed by a renewed and expanded commitment that offset all athletic activities (operation of facilities and team travel) for 2009-2013 seasons. These offsets are unique because they are all generated locally, benefitting our community and the state of Florida.
What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced when fossil fuels, like coal and gas, are used for transportation or energy production. As CO2 builds in our atmosphere it acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat which affects the Earth’s temperature and contributes to climate change. One way to help mitigate the effects of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses is to offset emissions through intentional efforts to reduce emissions or capture CO2. For more information check out this UF/IFAS fact sheet.
UF and the UAA take a two-pronged approach to carbon neutrality: reducing our output of carbon emissions, and offsetting what we do emit.
Collaboration of the University of Florida, UF Health, and the University Athletic Association, Inc.
The waste contract finalized by the University of Florida and recently awarded to WCA Waste Corporation was the first of its kind. Never before have the three separate entities of a major University, a major Health Organization, and a BCS sized athletic department come together to collectively negotiate a service contract.
Recycling - Athletic venues across campus provide recycling bins for fans, and all cans, bottles and souvenir cups sold at concession stands are recyclable items. Recycling bins were added to the football stadium in 2009, helping to divert waste from the landfill.
With the cooperation of our concessions partner, Centerplate, WCA Waste Corporation, the official waste partner of the Florida Gators and the support of Watson C&D to provide an organic solution, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has transitioned to compostable items for many concession wares and catered spaces. All paper products, silverware, straws, and food waste will go in marked composting containers instead of trash cans. Look out for the Green Team volunteers if you have questions during home football games.
All leftover food from the Boosters’ stadium boxes and vending is donated within the community, helping to reduce waste and feed hungry within Gainesville.
For many home athletic events, we host “Green Games” throughout the season. The Office of Sustainability’s outreach hut is set up to educate fans on sustainability at UF and empower them to make changes in their own lives, and representatives from Neutral Gator are on-hand to help fans learn about the UAA’s commitment to carbon neutrality. Additionally, UAA staff are working with sponsors to green their giveaways and tell their own sustainability stories.
UPCOMING GREEN GAME EVENTS
|Football vs. Eastern Michigan||Saturday, September 6||4:00 PM||Ben Hill Griffin Stadium|
|Volleyball vs. Texas||Saturday, September 6||7:30 PM||Stephen C. O’Connell Center|
TailGator Green Teams – Since 2006, the Office of Sustainability coordinates a volunteer-based recycling program on football game days. Volunteers in high traffic areas distribute blue recycling bags to fans, along with instructions on what is and is not recyclable. Inside the stadium, volunteers sort recyclables into bins and educate fans as they work in the concourses.
Facilities and Built Environment
In coordination with UF’s commitments and the national U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the new Donald R. Dizney Stadium at the Florida Lacrosse facility achieved LEED Gold certification. Additionally, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is home to the first LEED platinum facility in the state of Florida and the first LEED platinum athletic facility in the nation: the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Complex. In addition, the Gymnastics Practice Facility is Gold Certified, the Golf Course Club House Renovation is Silver Certified, and the Baseball Locker Room is a Certified project.
What makes Kornblau Foyer inside the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Complex green?
LEED certification is based on site/location planning, energy use, water management, materials used, indoor environmental quality and innovation in the design process. The Heavener Complex’s energy-saving features surpass state and national standards requirements by 35 percent, incorporating materials that make the heating and air conditioning systems more efficient.
A few key features:
- Energy-efficient lighting and light sensors that turn off automatically when the room is empty
- Light-colored roofing and concrete pavement on the plaza that keep temperatures lower in and around the building
- Low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets, help reduce indoor water use
- Low VOC paints provide a healthy space for fans to reminisce