Greener Building > LEED


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system is a nationally recognized standard for sustainable building design. The standards incorporate a range of environmental and public health considerations, including energy efficiency, building site selection, indoor air quality, water use, and many others.

Whether planning a new building construction, a major renovation, or retrofitting your current building, consider pursuing LEED certification.

Ask your developers and architects about LEED, and contact the U.S. Green Building Council at or (202) 82-USGBC for more information.


Visit the LEED-Accredited Professionals Directory to find qualified green building specialists near you.

LEED Certified Professional Sports Facilities

Many teams are renovating, designing or retrofitting their facilities in efforts to achieve LEED Certification. As of 2012, there are fifteen professional sports venues that have received LEED Certification for the Existing Building and/or New Construction standards, and several others are completing feasibility studies for certification. For example:

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami HEAT: LEED Certified Existing Building, 2009

The AmericanAirlines Arena earned LEED Certification for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBO&M) in April 2009.  Energy and water cost savings achieved by arena improvements save $1.6 million annually. Thanks to their greening work, which makes their arena 53 percent more efficient than the average arena, they now save approximately $1.6 million on energy costs annually.

Click here to read about some of AmericanAirlines Arena’s sustainability features:
  • Replaced 240 lamps in the arena’s concession stands and merchandise locations with compact fluorescent lights, 14-watt bulbs replaced 60-watt bulbs, to save $976 annually (recouped the capital investment in two years).
  • A building automation system (provided by Johnson Control) monitors and controls heating, cooling and ventilation.
  • Reflective “white” roofing and underground parking reduces the heat island effect and saves energy.
  • 9,161 square feet of canopies reduce the heat island effect.
  • Achieved a 16.7 percent reduction in potable water use and saved more than $5,000 in water costs through low-flow faucet and toilet upgrades and by increasing plumbing efficiency.
  • Save almost $11,000 annually due to greater irrigation efficiency. All irrigation of planters and landscaped areas is done by a drip system or a soak system that applies water directly to the roots, and all lines have low-flow nozzles. Also, timers are used so that irrigation takes place in the middle of the night in order to minimize evaporation.
  • Permanently installed water meters to measure the consumption of potable water and water used in irrigating all landscaped areas. The meters are monitored on a weekly basis.
  • Established an environmentally preferable purchasing policy and a solid waste management purchasing policy (43 percent of purchases are sustainable).


Amway Center, Orlando Magic: LEED Certified Silver New Construction, 2010

The Amway Center, completed in October 2010, received LEED Silver Certification for New Construction, the first NBA arena construction to receive this certification.

Click here to read about some of Amway Center’s sustainability features:
  • High-efficiency heating and cooling systems use 25% less energy than a comparable code-compliant building saving nearly $750,000 annually.
  • A reflective and insulated roof that reduces cooling costs.
  • High-tech monitoring systems that turn off unused lights.
  • Ultra-low-flow toilets and efficient water systems estimated to use 40% less water than a traditional arena and save more than 800,000 gallons of water per year.
  • A stormwater system to treat runoff before it can pollute nearby water sources.
  • A rainwater catchment system, stored onsite in a 5,000-gallon cistern, provides all water for irrigation needs.
  • Preferred parking for hybrids and other energy-efficient vehicles.
  • Front-of-house recycling bins for all attendees.
  • Construction materials incorporated recycled content (20% of materials) and 30% were locally sourced.
  • 90% recycling diversion rate of 8,000 tons of the wood, concrete and steel waste generated during construction.


AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants: LEED Certified Silver Existing Building, 2010

AT&T Park was the first major league ballpark to receive LEED Silver Certification for EBO&M in April 2010.  While the stadium has long embraced green operational practices, and the Giants were also the first MLB team to install a solar power system in 2007, the stadium made many additional improvements to earn LEED credit.

Click here to read about some of AT&T Park’s sustainability features:
  • Re-commissioning of the entire mechanical system.
  • Energy-efficient compact fluorescent lighting throughout the ballpark.
  • An irrigation clock receives weather data and couples it with site data to establish zone watering times, saving 33 percent to 50 percent in irrigation water use.
  • Achieved 100 percent waste diversion ballpark-wide in March 2012 and an 85.2 percent annual waste diversion rate for 2011. The team recycles or composts cans, bottles, plastic cups, cardboard, paper, wood pallets, electronic components, light bulbs, batteries, cooking grease, food waste and grass clippings. Low-flush water closets, urinals, shower facilities, and aerators.
  • Close to 100 percent of drinkware and food packaging sold at the ballpark is recyclable or compostable.
  • An HD scoreboard which is 78% more efficient than its predecessor.
  • In 2007 AT&T Park became the first MLB ballpark to install a solar array. At 123 kilowatts, it provides enough power to supply 5,200 homes (avoiding 360,000 pounds of greenhouse gases) and generates green energy for PG&E customers across San Francisco.


Bell Centre, Montreal Canadiens: LEED Certified Existing Building, 2009

In 2009, the Bell Centre received LEED Certification EBO&M. In 2009 the Bell Centre was 35 percent more efficient in energy savings than any other venue of the same type in North America. The Bell Centre is the only professional sports venue in North America to be awarded three independent environmental certifications: LEED Silver for Existing Buildings (EBOM), ISO 14001, and Quebec’s ICI ON RECYCLE Level Three (the highest level).

Click here to read about some of Bell Center’s sustainability features:
  • 258 washrooms were changed to reduce water use, which led to a reduction of approximately 20 percent in overall water consumption.
  • The organization decreased greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 28 percent by reducing natural gas consumption.
  • Environmentally conscious purchasing policies were introduced, and 80 percent of purchases now include products that are locally made and/or composed of reused or recycled materials.
  • The Canadiens eliminated all CFC gas emissions from team equipment.
  • A purchasing policy requires that the organization buy only environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • All electrical products meet Energy Star efficiency requirements.
  • Reserved and priority parking is provided for hybrid cars.


Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh Penguins: LEED Certified Gold New Construction, 2010

Consol Energy Center, certified LEED Gold for New Construction in 2010, is the first NHL construction to receive LEED certification. The project received high marks for water use reduction, recycled materials, regional materials, demolition and construction waste diversion, certified wood and energy efficiency.

Click here to read about some of Consol Energy Center’s sustainability features:
  • Locally procured construction materials.
  • Energy-efficient lighting and HVAC retrofits and maximized natural lighting.
  • Increased green space around the outside of the building.
  • Low-flow and water efficient plumbing fixtures.
  • Enhanced thermal performance and reduced solar gain.
  • The purchase of renewable energy for a portion of energy use.
  • Participation in the Rock and Wrap It Up! program, donating unused concession food on game nights to local food banks. With 20,057 pounds of food donated in 2011, the Penguins ranked first among the 24 U.S.-based NHL teams participating in the program that year


Jeld-Wen Field, Portland Timbers: LEED Silver Certified Existing Building, 2011

Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer club, was awarded LEED Silver certification for Existing Buildings on September 1, 2011.1 The 86-year-old facility underwent extensive renovation to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its original 1926 design.

Click here to read about some of Jeld-Wen Field’s sustainability features:
  • The operations team implemented more energy-efficient mechanical systems and sports lighting to improve electrical efficiency by more than 40 percent
  • Use low-flow plumbing fixtures.
  • Recycling stations for staff and visitors now diverts 20 percent of all waste.
  • The field has initiated composting in all kitchens and will soon be distributing compost receptacles for fan use around the facility.
  • Subsidized mass transit programs and the field has about 100 permanent bike racks and more than 250 temporary game-day racks, and approximately 350 people cycle to each Timbers game
  • Utilizing reusable commodities, using green-certified materials and equipment.


Marlins Park, Florida Marlins: LEED Gold New Construction, 2012

On May 24, 2012, after four years of construction, Marlins Park became the first ballpark in Major League Baseball to be awarded LEED Gold Certification for New Construction. The stadium’s retractable roof design presented the greatest challenge in reducing energy use and achieving LEED certification.  However, the design team was able to achieve a 22.4 percent reduction in energy use, when only 14 percent was required for certification.

Click here to read about some of Marlins Park’s sustainability features:
  • Installed solar panels to optimize lighting, mechanical controls, and electrical aspects of the roofing, and was able to achieve a 22.4 percent reduction in energy use.
  • Located the new facility on the former Orange Bowl site, a location with numerous public transportation options, including seven bus lines and nearby train and trolley stations.
  • Installed 319 bike racks.
  • Recycled or otherwise diverted more than 75 percent of waste from landfills during construction.
  • 58 percent of materials used to erect the Park came from within a 500-mile radius.
  • Efficient plumbing innovations were designed to reduce water use at the park by 52 percent, saving six million gallons of water each year compared to the national average for similar stadiums.
  • Changes in landscape design and maintenance use 60 percent less potable water for irrigation.
  • Implemented a comprehensive recycling program, which includes plastics, metals, paper, cardboard and glass.
  • Marlins Park earned LEED innovation points in some areas of the stadium by creating a new floor from recycled Nike shoes.


Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers: LEED Certified Existing Building, 2012

Home of the Milwaukee Brewers since 2001, Miller Park achieved LEED Certification for Existing Buildings on March 26, 2012. This is the first ballpark with a retractable roof to achieve LEED certification. Miller Park’s retractable roof made meeting the LEED energy and ventilation thresholds more difficult.

Click here to read about some of Miller Park’s sustainability features:
  • Implemented a retro-commissioning project, which analyzed HVAC, plumbing, electrical lighting and power to reduce scoreboard energy output by 49 percent and eliminated 1,153 tons of CO2 emissions annually, the equivalent to taking 220 cars off the road each year.
  • Retrofitted water fixtures saving the stadium three million gallons of water annually.
  • Implements an extensive recycling program with more than 140 recycling containers around the facility, fostering a 35% diversion rate since 2010.
  • On average, the park recycles ten tons of discards from each game and donates over 7,000 pounds of unused prepared food to local food banks each season as part of the Rock and Wrap it Up! program.


Nationals Park, Washington Nationals: LEED Certified Silver New Construction, 2008

Nationals Park was the first professional sports venue to be awarded LEED Silver certification. This park was built on a brownfield and constructed using 95% recycled content and regionally procurement construction materials.

Click here to read about some of Nationals Park’s sustainability features:
  • A 6,300-square foot green roof in the left-field concession area that helps minimize heat gain and water runoff.
  • Low-flow fixtures in restrooms, saving a projected 3.6 million gallons of water per year.
  • High efficiency field lighting and time/motion sensors on lighting with a projected 21% energy savings.
  • A recycling program that diverts about 80% of common waste items (glass, metal, plastic, cardboard, and paper).
  • Close proximity to public transportation metro stations.
  • A contract to purchase renewable energy to cover 70% of expected consumption over two years.


Philips Arena, Atlanta Hawks: LEED Certified for Existing Building, 2009

Philips Arena completed a handful of projects in each of the rating system’s six categories to earn 39 points and LEED certification for EBO&M in April 2009.

Click here to read about some of Philips Arena’s sustainability features:
  • HVAC, chiller, and lighting retrofits that reduced energy use by 8%, saving 4.5 million kwh per year.
  • Reflective roof materials that reduce cooling needs.
  • Low-flow flush toilets, aerator changes and low-flow shower heads as well as management of the cooling system reduced water consumption to save more than 1.95 million gallons of water per year.
  • Electrical consumption has seen an 8 percent reduction year over year, saving more than 4.5 million kilowatt-hours per year.
  • Arena uses approximately 20 percent less energy than all other U.S. arenas that house two professional sports teams (Philips hosts both the Hawks and WNBA’s Atlanta Dream).
  • Sends its plastic, aluminum, glass, cardboard and paper waste to SP Recycling.
  • Philips Arena sends over 12 tons of food waste per year to be turned into compost that is sold and used locally.
  • Paper products, including paper towels, bathroom tissue, and copier paper, are all 100 percent postconsumer recycled content.


Rose Garden Arena, Portland Trail Blazers: LEED Certified Gold for Existing Building, 2009

The Rose Garden, home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, is the first professional sports facility to earn LEED Gold Certification for an Existing Building.

Click here to read about some of the Rose Garden Arena’s sustainability features:
  • Lighting upgrades and cooling tower VFD and sequencing improvements that save a combined 771,000 kilowatt hours annually
  • Replaced bathroom fixtures with low-flow models, saving 162,000 gallons of water
  • Promote public transit and alternative transportation methods which are used by 30% of attendees
  •  Subsidize transit passes for staff and uses bikes and electric vehicles for on-site operations
  • Divert 80 percent of waste from landfills, using practices such as post-game sorting and a food-waste composting program with vendors.


Target Field, Minnesota Twins: LEED Certified Silver New Construction, 2010

Target Field earned LEED Silver Certification for New Construction in 2010, and then went on to earn LEED Silver Certification for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance in December of 2011.

Click here to read about some of Target Field’s sustainability features:
  • A power purchase agreement offset 70 percent of energy consumption at the stadium with wind energy in 2010 and 2011, avoiding more than 8.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Captured waste energy from the adjacent Hennepin Energy Resource Center is used to heat most indoor spaces at Target Field and the playing field.
  • High-efficiency field lighting saves nearly $6,000 a year.
  • A water cistern system under the warning track captures and treats rainfall runoff, which is filtered and used to wash down the seating area after games, with potential field irrigation uses in the future.
  • Low-flow urinals, dual-flush toilets and aerated faucets use 30 percent less potable water than conventional fixtures and are estimated to save 4.2 million gallons of water annually.
  • The Twins reduced the use of chemical cleaning compounds by 66 percent in 2011 from the previous year, and 73 percent of cleaning compounds met the USGBC’s LEED standards.
  • The stadium diverts 47 percent of its waste for recycling and composting, with all other waste going to waste-to-energy.
  • The stadium donated 7,500 pounds of leftover food to local charities in 2011.
  • 60 percent of the building’s exterior is regionally sourced limestone from Mankato, Minnesota (90 miles from the ballpark).
  • More than 70 percent of construction waste was recycled or otherwise diverted from landfill.
  • More than 30 percent of all installed materials were made from recycled content, including the foul poles and roof canopy.
  • Fans are encouraged to use public transportation or bike to games. Two rail lines stop near the left-field corner, a Metro Transit bus hub is less than a block away, and 427 bicycle storage locations are within 200 yards of the ballpark.


Toyota Center, Houston Rockets: LEED Certified Silver for Existing Building, 2010  

The Toyota Center in Houston received LEED Silver certification for EBO&M in June 2010, making it the first professional sports facility to receive certification in Texas.

Click here to read about some of Toyota Center’s sustainability features:
  • Reduced overall electricity use by more than 27 percent since 2003, earning EnergyStar recognition, by: engaging local entities in retro-commissioning practices, installing a Building Automation System, installing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) throughout the venue, saving $70,000 annually, installing motion light sensors in offices, purchasing renewable energy credits from energy provider.
  • Increased indoor air quality exceeding ASHRAE standards by using entry mats that reduce particulates entering building, and MERV 14 air filters on air handlers (that reduce energy use).
  • Achieved a 50% reduction in landscaping water use by using native plants and installing a drip irrigation system.
  • Installed low-flow faucets, toilets, and urinals, which reduce potable water consumption by 30 percent.
  • Reduced pesticide use by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
  • Introduced a high performance green cleaning program including Green Seal-certified products.
  • Introduced a high-performance green cleaning program.
  • Green Committee projects, Green Games, community outreach efforts, public outreach initiatives featuring Rockets players, and e-cycling events which earned Innovation points towards certification.


Salt River Fields, Spring Training Facility for Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies: LEED Gold New Construction, 2011

Salt River Fields, a training facility that opened in February 2011, received LEED Gold certification for New Construction in June 2011. The 140-acre venue has separate training facilities and clubhouses for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, as well as a 11,000 seat central stadium.

Click here to read about some of Salt River Fields’ sustainability features:
  • Energy efficiency measures such as displacement ventilation, operable windows, and maximizing evaporative cooling which are expected to reduce energy use by nearly 24%.
  • Local and regional building materials (40% of materials purchased).
  • Low-VOC paints, sealants, flooring and furniture.
  • Low-flow and water efficient fixtures which are expected to reduce potable water use by over 45%.
  • Reduced stormwater runoff by using salvaged vegetation and native plants, passive water harvesting through desert arroyos, and an onsite retention pond.


Soldier FieldChicago BearsLEED Certified New Construction, 2012

On May 31, 2012, Soldier Field became the first NFL stadium to achieve LEED certification.

Click here to read about some of Soldier Field’s sustainability features:
  • An extensive recycling program.
  • The use of green cleaning products.
  • Upgrades of building infrastructure to save energy and water.
  • Replaced traditional lighting on stadium columns with LEDs to lower annual energy use and costs.
  • The stadium has three electric vehicle charging stations that fans can use at no cost.
  • Taped public service announcements with players about environmental awareness and participated in tree-planting events within the Chicago community.

Other LEED Buildings

NRDC Santa Monica
NRDC San Francisco
The Chicago Center for Green Technology
Alberici Office Headquarters
Genzyme Center
The Solaire/20 River Terrace

Environmental Benefits

The materials, energy, and water used to construct buildings and keep them running smoothly and comfortably all have environmental impacts. Green buildings are designed to minimize these impacts on the environment by using environmentally preferable construction materials and techniques, including: reducing water and energy use, minimizing waste, and making better use of natural features like shade, daylight, and rainwater. In so doing, green buildings reduce their contribution to biodiversity loss, global warming, and many other environmental pressures.

Additional Resources

NRDC Green Building
US Green Building Council’s LEED
NRDC’s LEED information website