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Like Eagles, Mean Green has wind energy plan for stadium
Published November 29, 2010
The Philadelphia Eagles made front-page news for a renewable energy plan at Lincoln Financial Field that includes installing 100 small wind turbines along the stadium’s upper rim.
In the college ranks, the University of North Texas, whose sports teams are called the Mean Green, plans to build three larger, 100-kilowatt wind turbines outside the school’s new football stadium, set to open July 15. Wind-generated power would be a first for a college football facility, university officials said.
The turbines, 120 feet tall with 30-foot-long blades, would generate electricity for the 29,000-seat stadium and several other sports venues on campus. School officials are waiting for approval from the state on a $2 million grant to pay for installation.
For the $78 million stadium project alone, the turbines should produce one-third of its annual 2 million kilowatts usage, according to Texas’ State Conservation Energy Office estimates.
The wind turbines are expected to produce 6 percent to 8 percent of total energy consumption tied to the Mean Green Village, a sports complex with baseball, soccer, tennis and volleyball facilities, said Buddy Price, a school spokesman.
HKS, the Dallas-based architect designing the stadium, analyzed both wind and solar power and looked at 10 systems, comparing them by cost and energy produced, said Chris Mundell, an HKS associate and the firm’s sustainability design coordinator.
“This was the best system we saw,” Mundell said. “We did look at some smaller, helical wind turbines like the Eagles’. They were lower in cost, but did not produce that much energy for our project.”
The wind turbines are about the same size as the stadium’s light standards, so they won’t look out of place on the 43-acre stadium site near a residential neighborhood, according to Greg Whittemore, vice president of HKS.
“When you talk about the 300-foot turbines you see in west Texas, that is the wrong scale for what we are dealing with here,” Whittemore said.
Big picture, the wind turbines are part of North Texas’ ultimate goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus, and the project would play a key role in the school’s curriculum, Price said.
The school launched an Office of Sustainability in February 2009, a group of seven individuals dedicated to support eco-friendly initiatives tied to education, research and community outreach programs. North Texas’ eco-friendly initiatives date to 1950s research on water conservation, Price said.
Stadium project officials are aiming for LEED gold certification for the building.
GOIN’ MOBILE: The Pittsburgh Penguins recently surpassed 100,000 mobile application downloads, a milestone for the NHL club and a first in pro sports, according to vice president David Peart.
The number of opted-in members of the team’s Pens Mobile Club database has increased 192 percent since 2008. Since the club’s inception four years ago, the team has sent and received more than 20 million texts. The average response has been 52 percent for all 50 Student Rush ticketing promotions dating to last season, which Jeremy Zimmer, director of new media, called an incredible rate.
The Student Rush program, sponsored by American Eagle Outfitters, a founding partner of Consol Energy Center, the Penguins’ new arena, sets aside $20 tickets on game days for high school and college students.
“We got into this mobile marketing platform a few years ago because we thought it matched up well with our target audience, a tech-savvy crowd that uses those devices as their primary means of receiving information,” Peart said. “It’s going gangbusters.”
In addition, the team has seen a 5 percent response rate for sponsor-tagged texts sent to the Pens Mobile Club database. A response rate of 1 percent to 2 percent is considered good, Peart said.
Don Muret can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.