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Inside Levi's Stadium: Environmentally-Friendly Facility May Be NFL's Greenest

SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) -- Major stadium use a massive amount of energy and create a lot of waste. But Levi's Stadium is different. In fact, it could be the greenest in the NFL.

"This building is supposed to be the manifestation of the Bay Area . and so it has to be green," said 49ers President Paraag Marathe.



On the playing field, the team installed a new kind of grass. "It's Bandera Bermuda grass, specially grown by West Coast Turf," said head groundskeeper Matt Greiner.

The turf is tough, but not too thirsty. It requires about 50% less water than traditional football field grass. Special sensors monitor the soil's moisture, salinity, and temperature.

"We have thresholds and when we get to that threshold or below that threshold we know that we need to water," Greiner said.

Speaking of H2O, from the field to the low-flow toilets, 85% of the water at the stadium is recycled, conserving precious drinking water and setting a new standard for stadiums.

"I take a lot of pride and take it very seriously that we need to be stewards of the environment," Greiner added.

This gridiron also plans to tape pressure off the grid by tapping the sun. The canopy on top of the nine-story suite tower on the west side of the stadium - and all three pedestrian bridges - are covered in solar panels.

"It's awesome," said John Chillemi, Regional President for NRG Energy. ""Together there's 1,150 solar panels that add up to about 375 kilowatts, which will produce enough electricity over the course of the year to power all the home games here at Levi's Stadium."

On top of the suite tower is a sprawling green roof featuring drought-resistant plants native to California.

"That helps with cooling of the suite tower first and foremost," Marathe explained.

By concentrating most luxury boxes into a single tower, "You need fewer ushers and fewer plumbing pipes and all of those things you would otherwise need if the suites were spread across," he said.

Not to mention... with fewer suites spread around the stadium, all the other upper sections are lower than they might be, leaving everyone closer to the action.

The 49ers say Levi's Stadium is the first pro football stadium in the U.S. to receive LEED Gold certification, a rating system by the U.S. Green Building Council.


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