HEAT, Broward Count Public Schools "Seeing Green"

MIAMI – The Miami HEAT has challenged Broward County Public Schools to find innovative ways to reduce energy consumption at each campus. Through a new greening initiative titled “How Low Can You Go?” the team is enticing the schools to raise environmental awareness of CO2 emissions and educate the facilities about potential financial savings through responsible energy consumption. As an industry leader in greening efforts, the HEAT will reward the winning school with on-court recognition during tomorrow’s New York Knicks versus HEAT game. Second and Third Place schools will also receive honorable mentions during the game.

This collaboration is part of NBA Green Week 2014, which takes place from April 3rd through April 10th and leverages the combined weight of the league, teams, players and partners to generate awareness and raise funds in support of environmental protection.

The U.S. Department of Education recently honored Broward County Public Schools with a 2013 Green Ribbon Schools Award which recognizes schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. Broward County Public Schools was also awarded the Florida Green District Award for 2013-2014.

The HEAT Group’s greening efforts can be formally traced to the spring of 2009 when the AmericanAirlines Arena was awarded LEED Certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance by the by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is the USGBC’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy-efficient, and high performing buildings. The Arena’s green features include solar reflective roofing materials, reduced energy consumption, water efficient landscaping as well as paper and plastic bottle recycling among others.

In 2012, The HEAT Group was named a leader in sports greening by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international environmental advocacy group founded in 1970.

Other green initiatives in which the HEAT has participated include HEAT Beach Sweep, an annual effort to help preserve South Florida’s environment. HEAT Beach Sweep, now in its fifth year, is presented by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. In 2012, the Arena also hosted an e-Recycling drive during which they collected thousands of used electronics from the community, which were then safely recycled.

The team is currently working on the Silver Level LEED Certification, which it hopes to achieve by 2015.