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Super Bowl -- Lessons Learned 2008

Green your events (and conferences) with creative and Superbowl sized sustainability

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Greening Huge Events

The obvious lesson learned from the Superbowl, America's sports extravaganza, was to "never count your chickens before they hatch" ... or some such folk saying.

The not-so-obvious learnings have to do with greening huge events. Here are some thoughts and ideas generated by the people involved in the big game of the season.

"Bowlpooling." That’s when you watch the Superbowl with as many friends possible on one television; thereby reducing the amount of overall electricity used this gameday. (Source:

Enviromental Impact of Events: Recycling, Planting Trees, Reusing Food

The environmental impact of supersized events got attention first through recycling: recycling trash, planting trees, and reusing food. But no one knows if this is enough.

A local group in Anaheim started the conversation about the environmental impact of the Superbowl 14 years ago.

Environmental Impact of Events

Scientists are studying the longterm effects of these mammoth events. Calculation of the environmental impact requires models ... which are rare. Impacts include extra carbon released from extra travel, extra energy use and spikes in extra sewage and utilities.

About 1500 trees are estimated to be needed to offset the event's carbon footprint. Adding fiber through a tree's natural growth takes carbon from the air and sequesters that carbon.

High visibility is seen as a benefit that offsets the impact of the carbon footprint. Huh?

25-50,000 lbs of prepared food will be recovered and distributed to local people in need.

Sand used for the hospitality suite was re-purposed to resurface local playgrounds.

The International Olympic Committee is concerned -- they are requiring an environmental impact study of the China-based games coming up.

Audio NPR report on the Environmental Impact of Superbowl sized events

Greening an event requires a lot of pre-planning and post-work -- not just for taking care of waste that naturally happens, but how to reduce waste, how to turn materials into recyclable resources, reduce idling vehicles, reduce electicity use, reduce travel, make the food healthful (?) and make the intrinsic value of the event worth the effort...

How do we measure intrinsic worth of an event?

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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