Canadian Green Stadium: Toronto’s Rogers Centre



Sports Stadiums in America have been enjoying green overhauls for the past few years and its a good thing too, since these high-octane events can consume quite a portion of the energy pie. For instance, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium uses more energy than all of Liberia on a game day. Toronto’s Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays (and the first retractable stadium roof) is a peer of Fenway Park and stadiums like it, in that it has put a concerted effort forward to become a model green stadium in North America.


I had the opportunity to see a game there recently, and got to check out this green stadium in person.


One of the greenest things you can do as a public venue is think about lighting during the design stage, instead of just popping in an LED bulb post-construction. Are you maximizing the indoor portion of your building for natural daylight access? Are your lights automated or do they respond to motion sensors? Do they work in tandem with daylight to auto-adjust when there is adequate light, and become brighter when there isn’t? All these things are possible and should be, budget permitting, mandatory when dealing with potential energy hogs like stadiums that can house hundreds or thousands of people on a regular basis. The Rogers Centre uses motion sensing technology in conjunction with programmed schedules to best serve its needs—especially considering it has a variety of events at both day and night. In addition, each of its lights has a unique IP address so that the center grid may communicate with it and let it know how to adjust. Talk about Smart Lights! The Rogers Centre carries this ethos to its office, where staff can control their lighting at their own behest. imagine that! instead of having florescent lights glare down at you from 9 to 5, you could turn them off during a lunch meeting, or adjust them while the sun is blaring. It’s little touches like these that contribute to Rogers Centre status as a green stadium.

When you think of baseball games, do you think about the staff and personnel who are behind all the sportsy magic? Probably not. But any sports team / stadium takes a village to execute and make a pleasant experience for all fans on game days. That’s why it’s so great that Rogers Centre offers an E-Waste recycling program for all staff. Most of us feel a pang of guilt when we leave that old printer or radio near the dumpster, but not everyone is sure what to do with these electronics once they’ve become obsolete. In-office E-recycling programs allow staff to bring in their old electronics and their company to take care of responsible disposal. In addition, the stadium has drop-off boxes for unwanted cell phones that guests can access at three distinct levels for added convenience. These phones are funneled into programs to help community members who are in need of cell phones but don’t have access to them.


It may sound silly, but it’s no laughing matter—by serving beer in a cold, refreshing tallboy instead of a plastic cup, the Rogers Centre saves nearly 9,000 kg of plastic from the landfill. It actually takes a plastic bottle—yep those flimsy ones from Aquafina you could crush with your hand—about 450 years to degrade. So forget those other family heirlooms and maybe gift your great-great-great-great grandchildren your brita pitcher instead? Plastic also takes tons of oil to produce, which is just bad planning, not to mention polluting. Aluminum, the bedrock of most beer (and other) cans is 100% recyclable and can be re-routed into the metallic waste stream with ease.

Talk about another easy solution for any aspiring green stadium! High Speed hand dryers are actually crazily (alarmingly) more efficient than their slow-speed brethren to the tune of 88%, and result in a radical reduction of paper towel usage (or as the service industry affectionately calls them, C-folds). A University at Buffalo study found that high speed hand dryers produce 42% less carbon than paper towel dispensers.

While no building is perfect (see: recycling used fryer oil as an additive in chicken feed. Should chickens be eating fryer oil? Not sure. Also digital signage. That is robbing Peter (electrical power) to feed Paul (saving trees)), it’s lovely to see all the detailed and documented efforts of stadiums like Rogers Centre in helping to cut down on energy expenditure and provide channels for people to dispose of their electronics in a responsible way. Just one more way that sports can bring people together.

All photos credited to moss