Red Bull Arena and training facility go green

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Red Bull Arena, home to Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls, has gone green.

“Very important for us to be great community partners, so we want to be green,” said Amy Scheer, chief commercial officer of the New York Red Bulls.

The energy that runs through the lines and powers the equipment and everything else at Red Bull Arena comes from household and other non-construction waste processed at Covanta’s Newark facility about a mile away.

“All of this waste is brought to our facility. It’s burned to make steam. That steam is converted into electricity,” said Jay Baronowski, director of Energy Markets at Covanta.

And then transmitted to Red Bull Arena. Covanta says it costs about the same as traditionally-sourced energy but with some major environmental advantages.

“One of the benefits here is that a lot of other power plants are powered by fossil fuels, and those fossil fuels emit a lot of greenhouse gases. Our facilities have two benefits: first off, they’re not fossil fuel-based; they’re renewable energy. Then, also the trash doesn’t make it to landfills. If it were to make it to those landfills, the methane would be 30 times worse as a greenhouse gas constituent, so there’s two benefits of savings from our base load renewable energy power plants,” said Baronowski.

Red Bull Arena has installed bins to recycle waste that fans generate in the 25,000-seat stadium. It’s waste that eventually will go to Covanta’s power plant and come back one day as energy.

“They could be part of that as well by going to the recycle bins, using the recycle bins, making sure that we’re getting rid of our trash in the proper way to bring about a brighter future for this planet, we’re so proud to be part of this,” said Scheer.

“People are very responsive to this. I think people want to do this, and when they’re at a sporting event, they’ll look out and search out and see what they can do more in their community, with their homes and their businesses,” said Baronowski.

Red Bull Arena says the green transition has a lot to do with looking out for the planet.

“We’re doing our small part. Also should be noted, it’s not just Red Bull Arena,” said Scheer. “Our training facility in East Hanover is also powered by Covanta. So, the two buildings that we operate are run by Covanta in terms of energy, which is great, so it’s double the message.”

Covanta says the energy from waste shift shrinks Red Bull Arena’s carbon footprint equal to taking 1,800 cars off the road.