Greener Events > Event Case Studies

Grammy Awards

In 2007, NRDC began a partnership with The Recording Academy to examine the environmental impact of the GRAMMY telecast and related GRAMMY Week events. In the first year of the initiative, accomplishments at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards included:

  • Performance of a comprehensive energy audit of STAPLES Center by the LADWP and the preparation of an enhanced energy efficiency plan
  • Renewable energy used to power STAPLES Center and Los Angeles Convention Center
  • Renewable energy credits purchased by Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset carbon emissions from the Pre-Telecast and Arrivals
  • Use of recycled-content paper for telecast and non-telecast event materials such as envelopes, press materials, programs, invitations, and certificates
  • Flex Fuel and Hybrid vehicle transportation provided by GM for presenters and staff
  • Comprehensive recycling system instituted for event waste
  • Reusable service materials and accessories as well as post-consumer tissue products included at crew meals and craft services
  • Organic and environmentally-friendly food (including seafood, dairy, and produce) featured at GRAMMY Celebration after-party
  • Unused food donated by Wolfgang Puck to Angel Harvest

In subsequent years the Grammys have maintained previous achievements while adding new ones. For example, as a result of the energy and water efficiency audit performed at STAPLES Center in 2007, the venue installed solar panels in 2008, and replaced all urinals with waterless urinals in 2009, saving 7 million gallons of water per year. In 2009 the Grammys featured a red carpet made from recycled plastic materials which was reused in 2010, and ultimately taken back for recycling.

Major League Baseball All Star Games

NRDC has worked with Major League Baseball to green the league’s “jewel events”, starting with the 2008 All-Star Game events in New York City, including the All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade, the All-Star Concert in Central Park, and the All Star Game itself at Yankee Stadium. Some green highlights included:

  • All-Star Game events—including Fan Fest, the Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game–were powered by energy that was obtained from 100% renewable wind power.
  • The All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade featured a first-ever “green” red carpet, which incorporated 100% recycled content and was manufactured with 100% renewable energy.
  • NRDC green team volunteers collected thousands of bottles at the Bon Jovi All-Star Concert in Central Park, which was the largest public event recycling initiative in the history of NYC.
  • MLB also engaged fans by running public service announcements featuring MLB players encouraging attendees to recycle at Yankee Stadium and handing out NRDC ecotips inside reusable bags made from recycled content at All-Star Game events.

Similar efforts continued at the 2009 All-Star Game and 2010 All-Star Game, the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, and the 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. The 2011 All-Star Game, which was held in Phoenix, unveiled a solar pavilion to educate fans about renewable energy, thanks to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field.

NBA All Star Games

NRDC helped green the 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, first by conducting an energy audit of the New Orleans Arena. Other efforts included:

  • Improved the existing recycling program to include plastic bottles and aluminum cans
  • Procured 100% recycled content bathroom tissue at the arena
  • Provided hybrid cars for staff transportation during the event.

The 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix provided the US Airways Center with a chance to showcase their newly installed solar power system. The 1,100-panel solar array, spanning 18,000 square feet atop a parking garage at the arena, is capable of generating approximately 332 MW of energy annually, enough to power the US Airways Center for 26 Suns home games—the equivalent of eliminating the release of 44,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Remaining energy use at the arena for the All Star Game was powered by renewable energy from their utility, and offsets were purchased for energy used by generators. The event also incorporated a comprehensive recycling program and waste reduction efforts.

NCAA Final Four

In 2011 NRDC was asked to join the NCAA Final Four Sustainability Committee to integrate ecologically intelligent practices into the event’s planning and production. Over the course of the event weekend, the Final Four green efforts included:

  • Diverted more than seven tons of paper, bottles and cans for recycling
  • Diverted 1.5 tons of food waste for composting
  • Donated unused food to local charities
  • 100% of the energy used at the George R. Brown Convention Center was sourced from wind and solar
  • Carbon offsets purchased for energy used at Reliant Stadium

And these efforts didn’t end there: the Convention Center earned LEED Silver certification in July 2011. For more information on greening efforts from the 2011 NCAA Final Four, visit NRDC’s Greening the Games or NCAA Final Four Goes Green.

NHL Draft, Winter Classic, All Star Game

NRDC has also worked with the NHL to incorporate green practices and procurement into league events, including the 2010 NHL Draft, the 2011 Winter Classic, and the 2011 All Star Game.

The 2010 NHL Draft was held in Los Angeles at the STAPLES Center, which boasts many sustainable features such as solar panels, waterless urinals, and a robust recycling program. Additional efforts included:

  • Purchasing Green-e certified carbon offsets for all venue energy use
  • Reducing transportation needs to the venue by hosting the majority of NHL personnel at hotels within walking distance from the STAPLES Center
  • Eliminating most paper collateral from the event by making Media Guides and Year-end Review packets available online only
  • Printing tickets on recycled stock.

The 2011 Winter Classic, held at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, included a variety of greening efforts, such as:

  • Purchasing Green-e certified carbon offsets for stadium energy use
  • Eliminating single-use plastic bags and replacing them with 40,000 free reusable commemorative bags available at merchandise stands
  • Recycling all cardboard, bottles, and cans inside the stadium
  • Coordinating the pickup and distribution of prepared but unsold concession food as part of the Rock and Wrap It Up initiative (where Pittsburgh Penguins lead all clubs with 12,000 pounds of food donated as of December 2010)
  • Installing recycling receptacles next to each trash can on streets surrounding Heinz Field to combat the usual amounts of game-day litter and offer an option for recycling (now a season-long initiative)
  • Collecting recyclables at tailgating parties
  • Offering free public transit passes by the Port Authority of Allegheny County (paid for by sponsor Pepsi MAX) to fans traveling to the game
  • Additionally, the Winter Classic’s location in Pittsburgh helped draw attention to the Consol Energy Center—the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins—the first NHL arena to achieve LEED Gold certification.

The 2011 All Star Game held at RBC Center in Raleigh included similar efforts, including:

  • Purchasing carbon offsets for energy use at the stadium
  • Eliminating single-use plastic bags and replacing them with free reusable commemorative bags at merchandise stands
  • Robust recycling programs both inside and outside the stadium, including tailgate recycling
  • Donating unused prepared food to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
  • The headquarters hotel, Raleigh Marriott City Center, donated unused toiletries, boxed lunches, packaged food and clothing to Raleigh Rescue Mission
  • At the All-Star Open Street Fair, held before the All Star Game, corporate sponsors Honda and North Carolina State University hosted sustainability booths and educated fans about their recent efforts to go green.

2011 US Open

USTA launched its greening effort at the 2008 event, including the tournament’s first water bottle and aluminum recycling program, and has continued to make significant improvements each year. The USTA implemented many environmental initiatives during the 2011 US Open:

  • 94 tons of plastic, metal, glass and cardboard were collected throughout the site and recycled
  • 70,000 tennis balls used during the matches and practices were reused by USTA tennis programs or donated to community and youth organizations throughout the country
  • 20,000 pounds of food were donated to local communities
  • Over 50 tons of food waste was collected and turned in to compost for landscape and farming uses
  • For the first time, all food serviceware in the Food Village was 100% compostable
  • 985 gallons of food grease were collected for conversion into biodiesel fuel
  • Fans received purchases in the US Open souvenir-style shopping bag designed for reuse
  • 60% of the player and VIP transportation fleet were hybrid vehicles
  • 100% of electricity consumed during the Open was covered by Green-e certified wind renewable energy certificates
  • All paper products used on the grounds–from tickets to napkins—had at least 30% postconsumer content.

Environmental Achievements Reports

Environmental Achievements of the 79th Academy Awards
Environmental Achievements of the 80th Academy Awards
Environmental Achievements of the 50th Grammy Awards
Sustainability Achievements of the 2011 NCAA Final Four
2008 MLB All Star Game Greening Fact Sheet
2009 MLB All-Star Week Greening Fact Sheet