Callaghan: Carrier Dome’s sustainability efforts should model other ACC facilities

As the autumn creeps in and the leaves start changing, Syracuse University is again filled with the cheers and heartache of football, and this season more than ever with the team joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

With this refreshing start brings an exciting opportunity. Syracuse University should continue to bring environmentally sustainable changes to the Carrier Dome.

Not only can the university reap in economic and environmental benefits from increased sustainability, but the university can also learn from others’ improvement in the conference and become a leader in sustainability.

To sustain sports for years to come, we need to make our sports more sustainable.

While sporting events draw communities together and are an all around good time, the expenditure of resources and creation of waste are staggering for any one event. Everything from the electricity, food and transportation — the list goes on and on — can be reduced or modified to create a lesser environmental impact.

SU should take the programs and initiatives used by other colleges and universities and modify them to fit the Carrier Dome and the university’s other facilities, such as the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. Even in the ACC, steps have been made to increase sustainability, as seen with Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium and Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Though both stadiums have been renovated within the last 10 years, the arenas are running programs that could be used in Syracuse without major structural changes. Recycling and waste reduction initiatives, as well as energy efficient heating and cooling systems, have cut down the stadiums’ environmental footprints.

In 2011, Duke University was able to collect 207,560 pounds worth of beverage containers throughout all of their sports arenas, according to the campus publication, The Chronicle.

With these recycling and waste reduction campaigns, Duke has also created a new policy to moderate temperatures in their stadiums. Simply by raising the temperature in the summer and lowering temperature in the winter by a few degrees, the arenas have shown a reduction in energy consumption.

Duke has created these initiatives in coordination with the university’s Climate Action Plan. Syracuse University has a Climate Action Plan in a similar vein and should work to create sporting events that complement this initiative.

Not only can our university follow Duke in that accord, but it can also move forward to surpass other ACC schools in their sustainability efforts, making us a leader in the pack in more ways that just game statistics.

As Syracuse begins to “green” the Carrier Dome and other facilities, we can become a leader in sports sustainability.

Already, the Carrier Dome has made strides to improve its environmental footprint. Last January, it was announced that the Carrier Dome plans to flush toilets and urinals using an extensive gray water system, one that recaptures rainwater and utilizes it before causing issues with runoff and overflow in the city.

The university received a state grant to fund this endeavor, though 10 months after the announcement, construction on the project has not yet begun.

According to The Post-Standard, the project will not only provide creative solutions for water management issues, but will also be an educational opportunity for SU and its fans.

By drawing attention to environmental issues while still preserving quality of entertainment, the Carrier Dome has made great changes for sports sustainability.

The Carrier Dome could be a hindrance to environmental issues facing the city of Syracuse. But it is also an answer.

Meg Callaghan is an environmental studies major at SUNY ESF. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at mlcallag@syr.edu.


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