A renovated EverBank Stadium could open in 2028. | City of JacksonvilleA renovated EverBank Stadium could open in 2028. | City of Jacksonville
A renovated EverBank Stadium could open in 2028. | City of Jacksonville

OPINION | Let’s build the cleanest, greenest stadium ever

Published on June 23, 2024 at 4:24 pm
Jacksonville Today seeks to include a diverse set of perspectives that add context or unique insight to the news of the day. Regular opinion columnists are independent contractors who are not involved in news decisions. Want to submit your own column on a matter of public interest? Email pitches to jessica@jaxtoday.org.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, in partnership with the city of Jacksonville, promise to build “the stadium of the future.” 

The artist’s renderings of a mammoth metallic teardrop cowling seemingly suspended over the new stadium sure looks futuristic. Yet building a true beacon for the future will require more than aesthetics.

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Simply put, the future is green. The fact is, when it comes to designing sports stadiums these days, sustainability is routinely being built in – solar power, electric battery storage, rainwater reuse, native plantings, serving locally grown food, improved mass transit options and other ideas are being adopted across the country.

Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles, and Climate Pledge Stadium in Seattle – to name just three – have been built to emphasize green operations. In England, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium runs on 100% renewable energy.

“When you do things right, you save money and you help the environment,” says Mary Tappouni, president of Breaking Ground Contracting, a pioneering Jacksonville company in the field of sustainable construction. “It’s a win-win and easy to come to consensus.”

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One way for the city and the Jaguars to maximize efforts to build and operate a sustainable stadium, Tappouni says, is to form partnerships with JEA, which provides electric and water service, and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, which runs buses and the upcoming autonomous shuttle service.

Jacksonville’s Sustainability Manager, Ashantae Green, and her team have begun studying ways to build a green stadium in Jacksonville which would find support in the administration of Mayor Donna Deegan.

So far, the public has expressed no interest in building a sustainable stadium, even in the series of public hearings the team and the city held recently. Interest from the public would help the effort, she says.

While the city and the Jaguars have given a nod toward sustainability when discussing the stadium, no specifics have been offered – or, it’s fair to say, asked for. 

So here’s the ask: The stadium of the future should be run on clean energy – solar power and storage battery backup. The water supply should involve the collection of rainwater and reclaimed water. Every effort should be made to build and operate a sustainable stadium, to help the environment, save money over time, and build Jacksonville the greenest sports stadium ever. 

Do you think Jacksonville’s stadium should be a leader in sustainability to help the environment and reduce operational costs? Email Mayor Donna Deegan and City Council President Ron Salem and let them know that the future of football in Jax is green. 

John Burr serves on the Jacksonville Climate Commission and writes about climate issues and the environment for various publications. He was previously editor of the Jacksonville Business Journal and assistant managing editor of The Florida Times-Union. He has also taught continuing education climate courses at the University of North Florida and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

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