Owen Glubiak took a tour of the new Dallas Cowboys playing facility and upon questioning his tour guide of the energy use of the new stadium, the guide's answers shocked and stunned him.
What really blew my mind is when I returned home to look into the stadium's environmental initiatives. According to the Sports Business Journal, "those goals include reducing solid waste by 25 percent, cutting energy use by 20 percent and saving 1 million gallons of water annually compared to what would be produced were green measures not in place." One of the first things I noticed was the lighting. They were incandescent bulbs in many of the fixtures. They couldn't even consider the most basic of approaches by using energy efficient lighting. The fact they were using conventional lighting these days, with so many efficient lighting options available is just incomprehensible and to put it bluntly, idiotic. The payback for more efficient lighting such as CFL's and LED's is less than a year and they last 10 times longer. The only positive to the lighting is the natural lighting from the operable wall windows but if you have a game at night then it negates it. It is one thing to claim that you are reducing energy consumption by not using conventional systems but I ask what conventional systems are they using? Conventional systems are largely undefined. Therefore, you can skew any data you would like in order to make it seem like you are going the "green route".
What is even more hilarious about the environmental design is that they banked on the retractable roof and operable glass walls to make claims how they are improving their performance by having those open during the games. Well, our tour guide pointed out that they will only open the roof if it is above 76 degrees and the operable glass wall windows will be opened under the same temperature conditions and the wind speeds are less than 6 mph. Basically, they will only be able to use them during the very small time table of a winter that they have and the glass windows will almost never be open due to the low wind speeds that are needed in order for it to be viable.
The bottom line is this stadium is just a symbol of excess. There is no discernible reason that a football stadium should be using as much energy as a city when it will be used as rarely as this stadium. Onsite renewable energy was probably never considered. Why they wouldn't consider geothermal heat & cooling? Considering the hole they probably had to dig to put the stadium in, they could have developed a geothermal exchange system. In addition, that roof is a tremendously large space in an area with an abundant amount of sun. When Jerry Jones is writing $2 million checks every other day, what is a few million for a PV system to help power the facility? The name of the game for this structure was decadence and extravagance and environmental performance was seen as a barricade to both of those. So they did the bare minimum and began tracking their performance and comparing it to "conventional ways", whatever that may be, but who knows if they will ever actually do anything to improve it.