Solar Panels Powering Qwest Field Event Center

SEATTLE, Wash. -Firstly, congrats to the Seattle Seahawks. Also congrats to Sounders FC and First and Goal Inc. (FGI) that installed the largest solar energy array. At least to date in the state of Washington. Also it’s on the roof of Qwest Field Event Center.

In addition, McKinstry has partnered with the Seattle Seahawks, Sounders FC and First and Goal Inc. (FGI) installed the largest solar energy array in Washington State. That’s on the roof of CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Most interesting, the array consists of 3,750 individual solar panels. More interesting, they were manufactured in the United States by California based Solyndra. As well, they used the latest thin-film technology. Therefore, the panels capture both direct and reflected sunlight. That’s across a unique 360 degree cylinder-type surface. In addition, these panels take advantage of the facility’s new white “cool roof”. As well known, “cool roofs” conserve energy. They do that by reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the roof surface. This which lowers the need for building cooling. The system will cover over 2.5 acres. Which is approximately 80% of the Event Center roof.

More noteworthy, these panels are projected to generate over 830,000 kWh of electricity annually. Most noteworthy, which it is the equivalent of powering 95 Seattle area homes for a year. The system fully operational late summer 2011.

As well, the Event Center solar array is the latest in a series of “green” investments in professional sports venues. Those investments made by Seattle Seahawks chairman Paul G. Allen. Also, the Portland Trail Blazers, owned by Allen as well. They were the first major sports team to earn LEED Gold status for an existing major league sports arena.

Therefore, the team hired Seattle-based McKinstry. They are a full service design-build firm specializing in energy solutions. Their job to therefore install the solar array. In addition they developed a comprehensive resource conservation project for Qwest Field and Event Center. McKinstry has identified modifications to reduce energy and water usage throughout the complex, including high-efficiency lighting and mechanical system upgrades as well as installation of ultra-low flow water fixtures.

Peter McLoughlin, president of the Seahawks, Sounders FC and FGI agreed that they are committed to clean tech. They also believe in resource conservation. Their hope is the work on their campus will help as an accelerator. They hope for more clean technology to help cut energy costs. Also resource conservation growth combined will help within Washington and the Pacific Nortwest.

The combined projects resulted in a 21% reduction in annual utility costs. As well a reduction in carbon emissions of 1,346 metric tons per year. By comparison, this is the equivalent of removing 260 cars from Seattle roadways. It’s also equal to planting 278 football fields with evergreen trees. I like that one.

In addition, the significant investment in energy and water reduction measures. That was made possible through conservation rebates provided by Seattle’s two main utilities. Both Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities. Through partnerships made with the electrical union too. Therefore these projects will also provide clean technology job training opportunities for local trades’ people.

The team and McKinstry developed an ongoing public outreach component which includes educational programming around sustainability and resource conservation.

“McKinstry is excited to partner with the Seahawks, Sounders FC and FGI,” said McKinstry CEO Dean Allen. “We hope to use this great project to further inspire, educate and inform the public about how they can participate in fostering environmental stewardship within our communities.”

In conclusion, since opening of Qwest Field and Event Center, the Seahawks, Sounders FC and FGI have encouraged fan involvement in their sustainability goals. That’s through recycling and composting programs. Also, fans can track the current and total energy produced via the new solar array. Finally, they can track the facilities progress against their energy reduction goals through on-site educational kiosks.

Sources: Seahawks Communications and McKinstry