Portland Trail Blazers Moda Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

Recognition, First for a Major League Venue, ‘a Milestone in the Greening of Sports’

The Portland Trail Blazers are the first major sports team to earn LEED Gold status for a major league sports facility, a milestone in the greening of sports, the team announced.

"The Trail Blazers are proud to play a role in Portland’s drive to be the greenest city in the country," said Larry Miller, president of the Portland Trail Blazers. "This announcement is a result of local expertise and innovation helping Portland foster a stronger, more sustainable economy. We don’t view this as a one-time achievement, but rather an important step toward our long-term goals."

This certification, awarded to the Moda Center by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program (LEED EB-O&M v.3 2009), identifies and rewards best practices for a building’s energy, water and natural resource performance.

Miller said that the team’s fans and Portland community are an important part of the effort to reach its sustainability targets.

"Our Portland fan base cares deeply about their impact on our natural heritage," said Miller. "Oregon is one of the most beautiful, livable places on the planet, and commitment to being good environmental stewards is part of what defines our region. This is a team effort, involving all of us working together."

The public address announcement of the LEED Gold Certification was met with enthusiastic applause by the sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 at the Moda Center for Monday’s Trail Blazers game, who have contributed to the team’s sustainability efforts by supporting alternative transportation and recycling stations throughout the venue.

“The  Portland  Trail  Blazers  have  demonstrated once again that they are leaders  with  their  continued  commitment  to  sustainable  resources and renewable  energy,” said Kathy Behrens, NBA executive vice president, social responsibility and player programs. “This designation is another important step for the NBA to demonstrate how we can all play a role in lessening the environmental impact of our operations, arenas and events.”

Here is a partial list of the Trail Blazers’ sustainability initiatives:

Recycling:  The Trail Blazers have taken steps to ensure that more than 60 percent of their waste is diverted from local landfills, via strategies such as post-game sorting. Extensive recycling stations for visitors and a food-waste composting program with vendors help divert more than 800 tons annually.

Transportation: Located in Portland’s urban core, the Rose Quarter provides strong transportation choices for visitors, with more than 30 percent of attendees choosing public or alternative transportation—such as bikes. The team subsidizes transit passes for staff and utilizes bikes and electric vehicles for on-site operations.

Energy, gas and water:  In addition to installing energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures, the Trail Blazers partner with Pacific Power and NW Natural for the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy programs for the Moda Center.

Purchasing:  The team’s efforts include forging partnerships with suppliers to further develop sustainable purchasing, including more than 95 percent compostable food and beverage serving containers and materials, 100 percent recycled content trash liners, and replacing disposables with re-usable commodities.

Health: The Trail Blazers are committed to utilizing environmentally friendly cleaning products and equipment, and in keeping with Portland’s status as the slow food capital of the U.S., they offer their guests a line of locally made food and beverage alternatives.

"We are excited about today’s achievement, and understand that the drive for greater energy efficiency and sustainable operations is an ongoing process," said AEG Facilities Chris Oxley, general manager of the Rose Quarter. "We will continue to look for opportunities to further engage and involve our employees, guests and partners."

The Trail Blazers, in conjunction with NBA Green Week, will host their annual Green Game against the Dallas Mavericks on April 9.

The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a leader in the movement for the greening of sports, praised the LEED certification.

"The announcement by the Portland Trail Blazers that the Moda Center has achieved LEED Gold Certification is an authentic milestone in the greening of professional sports," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist and director of NRDC’s Sports Greening Initiative. "Never before has any major league sports arena or stadium achieved LEED Gold status, and it represents an accomplishment with likely consequences well beyond professional basketball."

Hershkowitz noted that the Trail Blazers’ announcement holds the potential of having implications far beyond the world of sports.

"With this announcement, the Portland Trail Blazers have let all sectors of our society know that we can meaningfully address the threats to our planet, that all businesses, even those that operate large and complex sporting arenas, can reduce energy use, protect our climate, and protect biodiversity. NRDC applauds the Trail Blazers’ path-breaking accomplishment and we urge all facility operators, whether they manage a professional arena or a schoolhouse, to follow this meaningful example."

Local partners in the effort to achieve certification included Green Building Services Inc., which performed a carbon footprint and sustainability analysis, and Energy Trust of Oregon, which helped enable key energy audits and secure funding for building retrofitting.