Décor items such as furniture, carpet, plants, and paint can have a range of environmental and health impacts based on their production, transportation, use, and disposal. By purchasing products produced locally and in a more sustainable manner, your sports facilities and sports events can reduce their contribution to global warming, water pollution, habitat destruction, and many other negative impacts. When designing interiors or décor items, give preference to products that can be reused, contain recycled or bio-based content, are non-toxic, and are locally grown.
When purchasing set pieces, furniture, floor coverings, and construction materials, look for wood products that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wherever possible, and at minimum ensure that any wood products are guaranteed to be legally harvested. See the Wood section for details.
Environmentally preferable alternatives to virgin wood products include repurposed wood or recycled content plastic lumber. For additional environmental considerations when purchasing wood-based products, visit The NRDC Consumer’s Guide to Buying Wood.
Whenever possible, reuse set pieces and furniture and store them for later events. When disposing of these items, consider donating furniture to senior centers or other charitable organizations for reuse, and recycle construction materials (ask your waste hauler for assistance).
When purchasing carpet, choose carpet that is reusable, non-toxic, and contains recycled content, and ensure these products do not contain PVC and are low-VOC emitters. Where possible, look for Green Label/Green Label Plus products. Instead of purchasing carpeting for an event, where feasible rent carpeting that can returned to the manufacturer afterwards for reuse, and ultimately recycled.
When purchasing paints, finishes, or wood preservatives, choose low-VOC emitting products. See the Low-VOC Products section for more information.
When decorating, give priority to live plants rather than cut flowers. Choose plants that are locally and organically grown when possible. If you plan to use plants as décor for an individual event, consider renting plants that can be returned to the vendor for reuse. If you use cut flowers or plants that require disposal, consider donating them afterwards to charitable organizations, give them to event attendees, or compost them.
When choosing plants for landscaping, select plants that are drought-resistant and native to the climate and location of your facility. See the Landscaping section for more information on water-efficient irrigation practices and drought-tolerant plant species.
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Choosing greener building materials throughout athletics and recreation facilities can help your institution earn up to 8 points within the “Buildings” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
The materials, energy, and water used to construct buildings and keep them running smoothly and comfortably all have environmental impacts. Choose interior building materials wisely to help minimize these impacts on the environment. In so doing, you will help reduce your facilities’ contribution to biodiversity loss, global warming, and many other environmental pressures.
PROFESSIONAL SPORTS EXAMPLES
The U.S. Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center features court surfaces made from 17 percent post-industrial recycled content (that required 57 percent less energy to produce than traditional surfaces). To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.
The 2008 Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Red Carpet Show featured the longest and greenest red carpet in history, winding up NYC’s Sixth Avenue, made from 100 percent recycled fiber content and manufactured using 100 percent renewable energy from solar and wind sources. The 95,000 square foot carpet was produced at Bentley Prince Street’s California manufacturing facility, which was the first in the country to receive a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB). The carpet was also certified as an environmentally preferable product by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Through Bentley Prince Street’s manufacturing processes, MLB avoided the use of 6,300 pounds of fossil-fuel-derived fiber and 162,000 gallons of water during the carpet’s production. In addition, Bentley Prince Street also offset the carbon impact of the carpet by purchasing 480,000 pounds of Green-e certified emissions reduction credits. After the parade, Bentley Prince Street collected the carpet for recycling through its ReEntry 2.0 carpet reclamation program, avoiding landfill disposal for 45,000 pounds of carpet. To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.