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Solar panels to make new stadium even more green

Stadium solar panels and wind turbinesIn an effort to make UNT’s new football stadium truly green, the university plans to install a high-efficiency solar panel system that will generate electricity and lower costs. Above, architect's drawing of the stadium with solar panels.

In September 2010, UNT submitted a grant application to the State Energy Conservation Office for $1 million. The grant is expected to fund the purchase and installation of a 126kW solar panel system on a section of the roof of the student entrance to the new stadium. Crews are moving forward with installing the solar panel system’s infrastructure at the stadium in expectation of receiving the grant.

The planned solar panels will be one of many environmentally-friendly features of the stadium, which is expected to earn gold level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system.

Rick Villarreal“It was important for us from day one to be as green as possible with this stadium,” said Athletic Director Rick Villarreal, right. “When we looked at the project, we realized that the cost of building it to meet LEED certification was not really that much more expensive if you did a really good job of planning, which our group did.”

Possible levels of LEED certification a building can achieve are certified, silver, gold and platinum. The Green Building Council looks for achievements in sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. Innovation in design can also add to a building’s certification level.

The solar panel system planned for the stadium will have an efficiency rating of 18.1 percent, one of the highest efficiency ratings on the market, and the Office of Sustainability has estimated that the system will generate more than 157,000 kWh annually, creating more than $7,000 in electricity cost savings in the first year, and more than $226,000 in savings over the design life of the system.

The solar panel system is also expected to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 113 metric tons, or 249,122 lbs of carbon dioxide annually.

Other environmentally-friendly aspects of the stadium include:

  • bike racks and other transportation initiatives
  • a drainage system that will funnel rain water to a pond to be used to water the area
  • landscaping with native plants and adaptive vegetation which require less water
  • design to make the best use of daylight to conserve electricity
  • concrete made with fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion
  • three wind turbines that will connect into the stadium’s power grid

The turbines are a separate construction project from the stadium, said Cassandra Nash, a senior project architect in UNT System Facilities.  

Posted on: Tue 05 April 2011

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