Recycled water will account for roughly 85 percent of all water used in Levi’s Stadium — the new home of the San Francisco 49ers — and will be used for irrigation of the field as well as a 27,000-square-foot green roof, flushing toilets and cooling tower make-up water. Inside, the stadium is dual plumbed with recycled water used for flushing toilets.
Following final testing by the City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities, Levi’s Stadium recently was connected to the city’s recycled water system, making it the first stadium in California to utilize the drought-proof water source. The milestone brings the facility one step closer to a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
Though other stadiums in the U.S. are plumbed for recycled water use, none are using it to the extent and in the myriad ways as is Levi’s Stadium.
"Utilizing recycled water in so many different spaces and in such a variety of ways was a challenging proposition," said Chris de Groot, the City’s Director of Water and Sewer Utilities. "We had to develop a new way to test both potable and recycled systems for a building of this size, and get approval from the California Department of Public Health. Through innovation and cooperative partnerships, we were able to achieve this new standard."
The recycled water system will be a key element in helping to make Levi's Stadium one of the most sustainable stadiums in the country and the first NFL stadium to open with a LEED Gold rating from the US Green Building Council. Other sustainable features include energy efficient systems, solar power, and the use of recycled construction materials.
"With California experiencing historic drought conditions, the timing couldn't be better to showcase the benefits of using recycled water whenever and wherever possible," said San Francisco 49ers VP of Stadium Operations, Jim Mercurio. "Fans visiting the stadium will become more aware of the importance and viability of incorporating recycled water to encourage a sustainable Bay Area water supply."
The City of Santa Clara is recognized for having one of the most progressive recycled water programs in Northern California, with recycled water accounting for 15 percent of its water supply. The program was honored with the American City & County Award of Merit and is the recipient of the 2014 Recycled Water Agency of the Year award from California WaterReuse Association.
Levi’s Stadium was built with sustainability in mind from the ground up. For example, a low-CO2 formula concrete is being used for the auger cast piles and the overall stadium structure. Traditional concrete has a large carbon footprint resulting from the energy used in production as well as the byproduct emissions. Some estimates suggest at least five percent of humanity's carbon footprint currently comes from the concrete industry.
MetLife Stadium, which hosted the most recent Super Bowl, in January became the first stadium in the world to earn the title of Certified Green Restaurant® stadium from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), exceeding its certification standards. With a full, game-day seating capacity of 82,500, MetLife Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the NFL. Operated by foodservice partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the stadium has over 200 on-site restaurants servicing up to 100,000 people a day and is the largest food-service operation ever to receive GRA certification.