MIAMI, Apr. 3 — For the fifth consecutive year, the Miami HEAT has challenged Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) to find innovative ways to reduce energy and water consumption at each campus. Through the 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 and water consumption. This year, BCPS also challenged Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Public Schools to join the challenge. As an industry leader in greening efforts, the HEAT will reward the winning school with on-court recognition during tonight’s Atlanta Hawks versus HEAT game. Second and Third Place schools will also receive honorable mentions during the game.
Out of the 84 schools that registered for the “How Low Can You Go?” challenge, 48 schools reduced their kilowatt consumption by a total of 1,735,400 kilowatt hours resulting in a savings of $156,814. The five-year total of reduced kilowatt hours amounts to over 6.5 million kWh saving the School Districts $600,000 and eliminates over 10 million pounds of CO2 emissions. The water reduction initiative, in its first year, reduced consumption by 7.5 million gallons resulting in a savings of $79,000. The “How Low Can You Go?” challenge was spearheaded by BCPS physical education teacher, Linda Gancitano. Gancitano was named a White House Climate Education on Literacy “Champion of Change” for enhancing climate education at Driftwood Middle School Academy of Health and Wellness and throughout the BCPS district.
The HEAT and AmericanAirlines Arena continue to blaze a trail for best greening practices and industry firsts. In November 2014, the Arena was awarded LEED Gold Recertification by the U.S. Green Building Council—the first sports and entertainment arena in the world to receive the prestigious honor. AmericanAirlines 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 addition, the Arena has two electric car charging stations inside its P2 parking garage.
In January 2016, AmericanAirlines Arena unveiled the Xfinity East Plaza, an elegant, energy efficient solar array as part of a multi- year clean energy partnership with NRG. The solar array is dotted throughout with 14 translucent solar panels, which utilize Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) solar technology allowing for the offset of energy consumption. Most of the all-weather seating on the Xfinity East Plaza is environmentally sustainable having been made from both 80% recycled aluminum and 100% recycled plastic—the equivalent of 24,104 milk jugs.
Other green initiatives in which the HEAT has participated include HEAT Beach/Glades Sweep, an annual effort to help preserve South Florida’s environment and Re-HEAT, where unused food from all Miami HEAT home games is redistributed to local homeless assistance programs. The Re-HEAT initiative, now in its 10th season, has donated more than 42,370 pounds of food to the Miami Rescue Mission and the Chapman Partnership with the assistance of presenting partner, Florida Blue and supporting partner, Levy Cares.