One of the factors that I find interesting about this stadium, as well as all construction projects in general, is the correlation between extravagance and the economy: from sports stadiums, to public works to family homes.
Pick construction from a specific era and look at the relationship between form and function. Are houses built to a minimum practical size, or are there a lot of 3,000 square foot homes for families of four? Do freeway bridges have a lot of non-functional design work added, or are they just basic concrete and steel? Are sports stadiums just big, drab people-holders or are they centers of opulence like this stadium?
I'm not a Republican or Democrat and say the whole global warming, climate change thing or whatever you want to call it today, isn't due to man-made CO2. I'm an engineer and carefully consider hard data over human "tendancies". However, that said, energy conservation and efficiency are still very dearto my heart! Too bad they apparently aren't in "The Heart of Texas!" Thanks for the information... without the CO2... I know... I know...
All I can say is wow. I hope Owen practices what he preaches and rides his bike to work everyday.
I too really want to keep the earth pristine, so that when the nuclear blasts hit there will be no carbon or trash blowing in the radioactive wind.
to bluto; if you think about it, the earth just may have been warming since the ice age....hmmm. How did that happen without factories and stadiums?
The Republican party politicians deny that global warming exists.
The Democratic party politicians say that global warming is a reality, but they (the Democrats) are not going to do anything about it.
Given this sad political reality, it is likely that energy wasteful buildings like this stadium will continue to be built.
GPBobby, you are off by a factor of 1000! A billion is 10^9, not 10^12. Your estimated cost is trillions, we haven't achieved that cost yet for a stadium...but don't lose hope, maybe we could reach that cost with the next "stimulus" package from Obama and congress, the future John Murtha Stadium in some rural Pennsylvania town. You could dial down the usage numbers also, it would probably get used about as much as the John Murtha airport.
Thank you all for your comments and for taking the time to read the article. While many of you bring up good points, I cannot respond to each and every one of you. I wanted to address a few items which have been brought to my attention since this piece was published. The power consumption of the stadium was calculated by using the Department of Energy?s ?Average Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by End-Use Sector, by State? see http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html for more details. Texas? average commercial price per kWh was $0.103 at the time of writing the article. The tour guide gave us the figure of $200,000 per month on utilities but did not break down the costs per source i.e. electric, water, gas, etc. Based on the size of the stadium and the power it would need to both light and cool the whole facility, I assumed the majority of the utility costs would come from electric.
In regards to the comparison of electric consumption by the City of Santa Monica, I used the EPA?s Green Power Partners? list to match the stadium?s electric consumption with another high electric consumer (see http://www.epa.gov/grnpower/toplists/partner100.htm). Under the 100% renewably powered list of partners, I found the City of Santa Monica as a participant and the city consumes roughly 23,000,000 kWh per year. Because the city is listed as 100% renewably powered, I took that as face value and included it in the article. I will admit, I did not do more in depth calculations as jayfender and DBTI question in the article. The reason why I did not do more calculations is because I relied on the EPA to do the dirty work for me. When a city claims that they are 100% renewable powered and a government agency backs them up, I expected them to mean it. I am still in the process of uncovering the criteria to be a city/municipality to be 100% renewably powered. I will be raising this issue with the EPA and posting my results as soon as I hear back from them.
The purpose of this article was to point out the enormity of this project and the environmental claims they are making. I am not questioning whether the project will make money or will fans enjoy the new stadium and gladly pay the additional taxes. What I am deeply concerned about is our continual need in society to build bigger and more. In this instance, I use the sports industry because they are arguably the best example of extravagance and indulgence. I am arguing that the sports industry is on a totally unsustainable path and that it needs to be addressed now. This is what I consider to be the definition of sustainability: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations to meet their own needs." -United Nations definition of Sustainability. Now I am not saying completely halt all activity. I am an economist. We need economic growth as well as environmental and social growth and there is a way to make all three increase at once. We should be interested in long-term sustainable growth and not short term capital gain. In the case of the Dallas Cowboy?s stadium, I am arguing for better resource management, from the scale of the project and the resources needed to complete it to the operations and the amount of resources that will be needed to run the facility.
I thank you again for all your comments and I look forward to continuing an open dialogue.
For this discussion who cares about the energy use of any city? For that matter, who cares about the energy use of the stadium? It's insignificant whether it's "green" or not. Neglect the 450 million or so contributed by taxpayers toward the 1.15 Billion cost. For now, also neglect the cost of interest. Let's also consider the stadium seats 80 000. The extra 20k seats are apparently not all seats but offer great views of the end zones while standing. OK. Cost per seat constructed: 1.15 x 10^12 / 8 x 10^4 = 14.4 Million per seat. Say the thing is still standing in 50 years. That gives an annual seat cost of 288 000 per year. Let's have 20 events per year: that means each ticket must sell for $14 400. Go ahead, add on the electric bill: $1.50.
As they say, follow the money...... . . . Without some kind of hidden subsidy, this abomination will melt under its own weight, with or without the lights on. If you like it, buy tickets and support game sponsors. If you don't, don't.
It is a sad state of affairs when engineers (if they are in fact engineers) refuse to look at the ingenuity of a new design, and instead, trash it for such irrelevant reasons. Just a few facts for you nuts out there (article author included):
1) No one builds a commercial structure to lose money - either the stadium can make a whole lot of money (i.e. used a lot) or the basis of the utility bills were skewed by the tour guide to exaggerate the grandiose of the structure.
2) Who cares how much energy it uses; we have plenty and can make more - I didn't hear about any brownouts because of the night game a couple weeks ago.
3) Green is the new Red - it doesn't matter how efficient the new stadium is, it is big, commercial, and designed to fit Texas culture; that trumps any positives in the environut mind.
And if you include hydroelectric in renewables and look at 2009 assessment based on 2007 numbers.
* Washington is the reneable electricity winner
* California drops to #2
* Texas drops to #5
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