Tracking Your Progress > Sustainability Metrics

Implementing operational improvements to make your sports facilities run more efficiently can yield considerable environmental and cost savings. Developing baseline information on your operations is crucial to tracking the progress of your sustainability initiatives. Tracking your environmental performance not only helps quantify these improvements, but can also help your operations staff understand where there are opportunities for increased efficiency and potential cost savings.

If your school has a campus-wide data collection system in place, investigate ways to better integrate athletics and recreation facilities data into operations decisions. Meet with the facilities staff overseeing the implementation of the campus-wide data system and discuss opportunities to enhance data collection for all sports facilities. For example, consider submetering for energy-intensive (or all) facilities.

In the absence of a campus-wide data collection system, consider using tools like the EPA’s WasteWise or Energy Star Portfolio Manager to track your progress, or create your own data collection systems using  the following categories and metrics to track the progress of environmental initiatives at your sports facilities.

Collaborate with the campus facilities department, campus administration, any sustainability staff, and other experts on campus to build a model data collection system for your sports department. Work with other departments across your institution to encourage campus-wide adoption of the system.

Suggested Initial Sustainability Metrics


Energy use is one of the largest impacts at any facility.  Start tracking your energy consumption (through your utility bills, energy meters, etc.) and consider using Energy Star Portfolio Manager to input and track consumption data.  Consider the following metrics:

  • Total electricity consumed – in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and dollars ($)

    • Note: if possible obtain info about which facilities measured, time period measured

  • Renewable energy proportion purchased (kWh and/or % of total energy consumed, and $)

    • Note: if possible obtain info about type of energy provided (e.g, solar, wind)

  • Energy generated through on-site renewable installations (kWh)

  • Energy generated through on-site fossil fuel installations (kWh)

  • Offsets purchased (in MWs and converted into lbs/tons of CO2 equivalent offset, $)

    • Notes: type of offset (e.g., solar, wind), contact info of offset provider

  • Other energy consumed (e.g., generator diesel) – in gallons or appropriate quantity


  • Energy efficiency benefits achieved, if available: data of quantified energy savings through efficiency measures (kWh, $)


Work with your waste haulers to track your waste stream by material and calculate waste diversion rates.  Consider using EPA’s WasteWise Re-TRAC to input and track waste diversion data. Consider the following metrics:

  • Total solid waste produced (in lbs/tons)

  • Cost per ton of garbage disposed ($)

  • Percent and tonnage of each component of waste stream recycled (plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, cooking oil, etc.) (in lbs/tons)


  • Percent and tonnage of waste stream composted (in lbs/tons)


Start tracking your water consumption through your utility bills and consider using Energy Star Portfolio Manager to input and track consumption data. Consider the following metrics:

  • Total water use (in cubic feet or gallons)

  • Cost of water acquisition ($ per feet3 or m3 or gallon)

  • Cost of water disposal/sewage ($ per feet3 or m3 or gallon)


  • Any available data of quantified water savings through efficiency measures (e.g., waterless urinals)

  • Any available data on greywater use


Work with your suppliers and operations staff to track paper purchases.  Consider using the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator to calculate resource savings from switching to recycled content paper. Consider the following metrics:

  • Restrooms/Offices/Concessions: total tissue paper (towels, napkins, tissue) consumed (% of recycled content, % of postconsumer content, in lbs/tons, per event or per year)

  • Office: total copier paper consumed (% of recycled content, % of postconsumer content, in lbs/tons, per event or per year)

  • Programs, yearbooks, media guides: (% of recycled content, % of postconsumer content of all paper consumed, in lbs/tons)


  • If available, other grades of paper consumed, e.g. coated paper, cardboard (% of recycled content, % of postconsumer content of all paper consumed, in lbs/tons)

  • If available, total paper consumed that is FSC-certified


Consider publicizing the athletics and recreation departments’ resource use on real-time displays in the venues (integrate the information into other news bulletins displayed in the facility foyers) or online. Suggest ways for the campus sports community–athletes, coaches, fans and visitors–to help reduce resource use by including green tips and publicize on any progress in resource savings. Visit the Sustainability Reporting and Outreach sections of this guide for additional guidance.


NRDC is working with professional sports leagues to implement league-wide sustainability metrics and data collection systems. As of 2014, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association have designed and implemented league-wide environmental data collection systems to spur the tracking of environmental progress in the categories of energy use, water use, waste management, and paper purchasing at major sports venues across the country.