The University of North Texas wanted to build a football stadium that would be unique when it set out to design the venue a few years ago.
UNT announced another way in which it reached that goal on Thursday morning, when the school revealed that Apogee Stadium has received Platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The venue that seats 30,850 is the first newly constructed college football stadium in the country to receive the highest rating for sustainability that is determined by the U.S. Green Building Council's criteria.
"It demonstrates to not only the on-campus community, but also to the outside community that we are taking a leadership role nationally in sustainability," said Todd Spinks, director of UNT's Office of Sustainability.
Environmentally friendly design choices can be seen all over the $79 million venue, from the recycled material that was used during construction to the use of windows that admit natural light while cutting electricity costs.
Also fulfilling the stadium's eco-friendly goals are three wind turbines that are currently being constructed just outside the venue.
The turbines will feed into a separate electric grid in the Mean Green Village that includes Apogee Stadium, the Mean Green Athletic Center, Victory Hall and several other athletic venues.
Spinks said the stadium design team estimates that the turbines will produce 500,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year annually, about 6 percent to 8 percent of what Mean Green Village will use in a year.
Apogee Stadium will use 1.5 million to 1.7 million kilowatt-hours a year.
"Anything we can do to help on the environmental side, we need to be involved with," said C. Dan Smith, a former chairman of the UNT Board of Regents who served on the board throughout the planning phase of the stadium. "The stadium is the signature piece of the university and sits right on Interstate 35E, so it's important that we made it environmentally friendly. I'm thrilled."
UNT opened the stadium on Sept. 10, when the Mean Green lost a home game to Houston, the first of six home games this season.
UNT's leaders are hoping the certification will bolster the university's reputation for being environmentally friendly.
"This puts us on the cutting edge and in a leadership role," said Jordan Case, who headed up the school's stadium steering committee. "To put something together of great quality that is also environmentally friendly is something that we are proud of."
Spinks said that UNT set out to attain the highest possible level of LEED certification early on in the planning process, but did not realize the stadium had a chance to reach the Platinum level until recently.
He credited UNT officials for working together to attain the distinction.
"Most athletic facilities are not very efficient, and it's hard to maximize the sustainability of a building," Spinks said. "To get to the point where we can achieve LEED Platinum shows that when you get all the stakeholders working together what you can do."
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .