Sure, AT&T Park can claim the only-in-San Francisco distinction of having a designated area where fans can munch on Persian cucumbers and marigold petals while watching the big game. But Levi’s Stadium, the recently unveiled new home of the San Francisco 49ers and the only National Football League venue, to our knowledge, that’s named after a trouser manufacturer, blows its Bay Area competition out of the water in terms of overall sustainability.

Hosting its first regular-season NFL home game in mid-September when the Niners square off against the Chicago Bears, Levi’s Stadium is one hell of an eco-friendly professional sports venue. In fact, the so-called “Field of Jeans” is the first newly built (price tag: $1.3 billion) NFL stadium to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Since we’re talking professional football here, the project, one of the largest scale LEED Gold projects ever completed, scored 41 points. An accumulation of between 39 and 51 is required to achieve LEED Gold-dom.

The LEED Gold achievement was announced earlier this week via Twitter by 49ers CEO Jed York. He notes in a press announcement:

The Bay Area is a world leader in sustainable efforts, and achieving LEED Gold certification for Levi’s Stadium is another example of our desire to showcase all that is special about the region. Our design team, partners and contractors have helped Levi’s Stadium become the environmentally responsible building we had envisioned.

Located in the bustling Silicon Valley burg of Santa Clara — about an hour’s drive away from the 49ers former longtime home at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park — Levi’s Stadium most certainly fits in comfortably with its tech-centric surroundings. The whole 68,500-seat shebang serves as an impressive showcase of green technology and ecological sensitivity — a trio of 375kW capacity solar array-covered “Energy Bridges” and state-of-the-art automatic sensors that help keep energy consumption at a minimum are just a couple of the highlights.

On the solar front, Levi’s Stadium was conceived as a net-zero energy facility. Well, a part-time net-zero energy facility. The energy produced by the multipurpose venue’s 1,000-plus PV panels — in addition to the three solar panel-topped pedestrian walkways leading from the main parking lot to the complex, there’s also the rooftop NRG Solar Terrace — will be enough to completely power the stadium, from the concession stands to the scoreboards, during the 10 scheduled 49ers home games per season. The PV system won’t produce enough juice to totally offset the power consumed by non-49ers-related events held at the HNTB-designed stadium, including WrestleMania 31 in 2015.

Although not a regular scheduled game, I’d be curious to see if Levi’s Stadium is capable of flexing its net-zero muscle for another one-off event that it will host in 2016: Super Bowl 50.

Aside from the stadium’s production of and (partial) reliance on renewable energy, a host of other sustainable features helped Levi’s Stadium garner LEED Gold. Most notably, there’s the massive (27,000-square-foot) green roof that tops the suite tower on the west side of the complex. And in a nod to California’s extremely precarious water situation, the stadium's plumbed fixtures will be high-efficiency to help conserve precious H2O. There will also be a remarkable reliance on the use of recycled water — 85 percent overall —for irrigating both the playing field and the green roof along with toilet flushing and other uses.

Other green features at Levi’s Stadium include ample EV charging stations; LED lighting; proximity to public transportation and bike baths; recycling and composting initiatives; and an emphasis on recycled/reclaimed construction materials.

And then there’s the all-important grub.

While it might not have an edible garden adjacent to the playing field like at LEED Silver-certified AT&T Park, Levi's Stadium does make an effort to cater to vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, locavores, foodies, health nuts, and Niners fans seeking a departure from the typical salty/greasy/fatty stadium fare. As reported by SFWeekly, Centerplate, the stadium’s official concessionaire, will offer a total of 14 vegan and 26 vegetarian options on game days including vegan franks, veggie tortas, portabella boa buns, and BBQ jackfruit sandwiches (!?). Garlic fries, a Bay Area stadium staple, will also be present alongside grass-fed burgers and sustainable seafood offerings. All and all, 80 percent of the comestibles served at Levi’s Stadium will be California-sourced.

Head on over to the Levi's Stadium homepage where you can learn more nuts and bolts about the 49ers snazzy new digs, purchase tickets for public tours, and check out more photos of the freshly ribbon-cut venue. You can also view a complete calendar of upcoming events. As mentioned, the first regular-reason Niners game won't be until September. However, the stadium's maiden event, on August 2, will also be a football game. Well, depending on who you ask.

Via [SF Business Times]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Levi's Stadium, new home of the San Francisco 49ers, scores LEED Gold
This isn't your grandfather's vegetation-topped, solar-powered, vegan pulled pork sandwich-selling football stadium.