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CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and Chicago Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips in unveiling a plaque to commemorate the fact that Soldier Field is the first NFL stadium to achieve LEED status.
"Chicago is the green buildings capital of the world, so it is natural that our football stadium is the first LEED certified professional football stadium," said Mayor Emanuel. "In Chicago, the public and private sector are committed to promoting sustainability and seeking the positive economic returns and job creation associated with these efforts. Soldier Field is another fine example of this mentality."
Soldier Field underwent a complete rehabilitation in 2003, after which the stadium undertook a number of environmentally focused initiatives. Included among the efforts are green cleaning products, electric vehicle charging stations, a re-use program by which soil and sod are recycled, energy efficient lighting, and more.
"It is smart business and the right thing to do for the environment," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We salute Soldier Field and the Bears for displaying the type of leadership that makes a positive difference in our communities."
The various components of the projects leading to the LEED certification created about 20 jobs. There will be 100 part time jobs (during the football season only) created to manage the recycling program.
Mike Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent, said “As we enter a new era with a focus on a global community, it is the responsibility of the Soldier Field family and its patrons to decrease the impact of the stadium on its environment through reusing and recycling materials whenever possible.”
The Chicago Park District, the owner of the stadium, and SMG, the company that manages Soldier Field, worked together on the LEED process in hopes of lowering operating costs, reducing waste, conserving energy, and improving health and safety in the stadium. Soldier Field hosts more than 200 events annually.
The Bears played a major role in the achievement of the LEED status and will continue to work toward greening the stadium.
"The Chicago Bears are proud of our home on Chicago’s magnificent lakefront," said Ted Phillips, the Chicago Bears President and CEO. "We salute the efforts of both SMG and the Chicago Park District in achieving LEED certification for Soldier Field, the first NFL stadium to achieve such an honor."