UNT Apogee Stadium earns LEED Platinum Certification
Nation's first LEED Platinum designation for collegiate stadium
By Eric Capper
The United States Green Building Council has awarded the University of North Texas' Apogee Stadium a LEED Platinum Certification, making it the first newly constructed collegiate football stadium in the nation to achieve the highest level of LEED certification.
"This is a great accomplishment for UNT and strongly underscores our commitment to sustainability," said UNT President V. Lane Rawlins. "UNT is a leader in environmental research and sustainability, and the fact that we have the first LEED Platinum football stadium is an example of our commitment and our plans for the future."
The UNT System led the construction of the stadium, which was designed by HKS Sports and Entertainment Group and built by Manhattan Construction Company.
"As a university system, we are committed to building campuses that minimize the use of natural resources and don't harm the environment," said Lee Jackson, chancellor of the UNT System. "We want to provide all students, faculty and staff members on our campuses with buildings that are first class in every way, including reduced environmental impact."
The UNT System commitment to building green grew from an initiative by Jackson to construct future buildings to meet or exceed the latest efficiency and environmental standards. It also supports UNT's commitment to sustainability, which was deeply underscored when it became the first large public university in Texas to sign on to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2008. There currently are three LEED Gold certified buildings on UNT System campuses -– the flagship campus in Denton, UNT Dallas and the Health Science Center in Fort Worth with two more awaiting certification.
Because UNT uses its buildings for 50-75 years, LEED certified buildings are practical, Rawlins said. "By building in this manner, the sustainable features of the buildings pay for themselves through their efficiencies within eight years. Plus, environmentally responsible buildings mean healthier buildings with better air quality," Rawlins said.
The 31,000-seat Apogee Stadium features luxury suites, an amenity-filled club level, a Spirit Store, a corporate deck and a unique end-zone seating area. In addition to hosting UNT events, it will serve the entire North Texas region as a venue for outdoor concerts, community events, high school games and band competitions.
"This tremendous accomplishment could not have been achieved without a highly dedicated and focused team effort by UNT System, UNT Office of Sustainability, North Texas Athletics, the students, HKS and Manhattan Construction Company," said Raynard Kearbey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, MSFM, associate vice chancellor for system facilities for the UNT System.
Apogee Stadium will achieve another first in December with the completion of three wind turbines that will feed the electrical grid that powers the stadium. Using a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office, UNT currently is installing the wind turbines, making Apogee Stadium the first collegiate stadium designed to incorporate onsite renewable wind energy.
According to Greg Whittemore, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, project manager with the HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, the stadium was designed with sustainability at the forefront. "A football stadium is not the typical LEED Platinum candidate. It took creative thinking on the parts of the design and construction teams in conjunction with the UNT System and North Texas Athletics. Today, the Apogee Stadium's LEED Platinum status is a testament to the team's dedication to sustainability."
"From the wind turbines to the native landscaped surroundings to the eco-friendly building materials, Apogee Stadium is a one-of-a-kind green venue," said HKS's Chris Mundell, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP BD+C, who served as the project's LEED consultant. "This high-performance building design will reduce energy costs by approximately 25 percent. The wind turbines will also substantially offset the external energy demand."
About the Author
Eric Capper is the Senior Associate Director of Athletics at the University of North Texas.