NEW YORK – In a nationwide assessment of sustainable practices by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Green Sports Alliance, Sun Devil Athletics was named one of the top-10 athletic departments for sustainability. Arizona State University was honored for its use of solar energy to provide power to its sporting facilities as well as ASU’s four campuses in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
“Progress toward sustainability requires the reconceptualization and reorganization of all of university enterprises,” said Arizona State University President Michael Crow. “Nowhere is this more visible than in athletics, where the interaction between the university and its constituents is most public.”
Harnessing one of Arizona’s most abundant natural resources with almost 300 days of sunshine a year, Sun Devil Athletics leads the nation in solar panel installations with nine athletic-specific systems and one dedicated to the campus’ recreational facility. These installations generate approximately 7.5-megawatt hours of electricity each year, the most of any athletic department in the country. Collectively, Arizona State University has 72 solar systems across four campuses Valley wide.
“Athletics provides a unique opportunity to promote sustainability at our university, and Sun Devil Athletics has fully embraced the opportunity to advance sustainable practices as an institution and with our fans,” said Steve Patterson, Vice President for University Athletics.
Sun Devil Athletics’ ninth and newest solar installation at Farrington Stadium, home to the two-time NCAA Champion Sun Devil softball program, plans to be fully operational come late September and will not only provide power to the facility but act as a sun shade for fans attending games in the spring. The Farrington Stadium project will be the first solar install for Sun Devil Athletics that provides dual-functionality for a sporting facility by providing both power and shade.
The Arizona State University solar system installations are facilitated, in part, by Arizona Public Services (APS) Renewable Energy Incentive Program. The program offers financial incentives to customers, such as ASU, who add renewable energy systems to their businesses.
The NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report highlights 30 schools across the NCAA and provides 10 detailed case studies on the top universities in various sectors of sustainable practices: Arizona State (solar power), Arizona (plumbing), Colorado (green building), Florida (irrigation), Minnesota (energy efficiency), Ohio State (zero waste), Oregon (food donation), North Texas (wind), Texas (turf efficiency), and Washington (supply chain).
The NRDC is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, its lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. Since 2004, NRDC has been a world leader in professional and collegiate sports greening.