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The Superdome Scores a Touchdown for Energy Efficiency

Sarah Battaglia's picture
NRG Business
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  • Feb 2, 2013 4:00 pm GMT

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New Orleans SuperdomeGet those chicken wings ready!  Super Bowl XLVII is coming up faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.  This year, the Baltimore Ravens will take on the San Francisco 49ers at the newly renovated Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The lucky fans attending the game are in for a treat.  With $336 million worth of renovations, the Superdome is more modern, luxurious, and energy efficient than ever.

This massive update is one of the biggest stadium reconstruction projects ever attempted in the U.S.  Expanding the plaza concourse, adding concession stands and restrooms, making space for 3,100 new seats, upgrading the locker room and press box, and constructing two premium bunker club lounges were all part of this undertaking.  As if this wasn’t enough, new construction has turned the Superdome into an energy efficient playground.

Consuming approximately 4,600 MW of electricity, the Superdome and its supporting facilities are going to great lengths to be resourceful with the energy it requires.

To make the Superdome even more vivid, a brand new LED lighting system was installed on the exterior of the building.  26,000 LED lights in 288 fixtures create a stunning light display that can produce any color of the rainbow.  Five miles of copper wiring support the system and make it incredibly efficient.  In fact, when the entire system operates in a single color, it only requires the amount of energy used by a small house, or about 10 kilowatts of electricity.  If that hasn’t caused your jaw to drop, maybe this will.  If these lights operate for 6 hours every day, the earliest a bulb will have to be replaced is in 2057!

Aside from lighting, about 400,000 square-feet of aluminum was customized specifically for this project.  With an anodized light brown exterior, this “skin” features a modern barrier that provides significant energy savings by improving the stadium’s insulation.  Burtin Polymer Laboratories developed a foam solution to further insulate the perimeter.

“Spray foam was an obvious choice due to its benefits of water resistance, thermal insulation value, air tightness and adhesive qualities,” explained Burtin Polymer Laboratories President Henry Delaune.  “We anticipate tremendous energy savings due to the tight building envelope created by the spray foam insulation.  In addition, the foam was cost effective compared with traditional materials.”

The $336 million dollar investment may seem costly, but the revenue that the facility brings in makes every penny worth it.  For each dollar spent on the new and improved Superdome, $58 is gained in revenue.  That’s equivalent to $19.9 billion by the end of 2025.

To the 76,468 fans attending the Super Bowl on Sunday, be sure to keep an eye out for these upgrades, especially the LED lighting! To the rest of the country watching the game from the comfort of their couches, try not to eat too many chicken wings. You’ll regret it later.

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Mark Mastrocinque's picture
Mark Mastrocinque on Feb 4, 2013

4,600 MWs is a little high (that 4.6 billion watts).  I believe you mean 4,600 KWs (thousands of watts).

Mark Mastrocinque's picture
Mark Mastrocinque on Feb 3, 2013

I believe you're off by a factor of 1000.  You must mean 4,600 KWs not MWs.

Larry Anglin's picture
Larry Anglin on Feb 3, 2013

The article states:  "Consuming approximately 4,600 MW of electricity,..." which is not possible.  A typical modern nuclear generator produces about 1,000 MW (1 GW).  There aren't four nuclear power generators dedicated to the Superdome.  I don't know what the error is, but two possible sources are:  1.  Instead of 4,6000 MW of electricity consumption it should be 4,6000 MWhr of energy consumed per year.  or 2.  Instead of 4,600 MW of energy, it should be 4.6MW of energy - the comma should be a period.  Either way, the current number is way off.

Sarah Battaglia's picture
Sarah Battaglia on Feb 4, 2013

Thank you for pointing this out. 

Here is the source where I found this figure:

Toward the bottom of the article, under the "Local Stats for New Orleans" section, the aurthor states, "Energy usage at the Superdome and at supporting facilities was listed as roughly 4,600 MW of electricity. The generation of this electricity will result in approximately 3.8 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Entergy Corp. said that it will donate carbon credits to offset or neutralize the impact of these emissions."

Larry Anglin's picture
Larry Anglin on Feb 4, 2013

That's the problem with quoting numbers you don't understand.  4,600  MW is so large that it is obviously wrong would make a knowledgeable reader doubt every other number in the report.  

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