Conservationists question US Bank Stadium’s LEED award

The decision to award US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings NFL American football team, with the highest rating level offered through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programme has drawn criticism from local bird conservation groups.

US Bank Stadium opened in July 2016 and hosted the 2018 Super Bowl. Last week, the stadium became the first professional sports venue to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum energy and environmental certification.

The certification uses the Arc performance platform, which measures several sectors of environmental practices such as water reduction, waste diversion and reduction, energy efficiency and the promotion of alternative transportation. The stadium was certified LEED Gold for Building Design and Construction in 2017.

The design of US Bank Stadium features a glass façade and the venue has previously been dubbed a death trap for birds, which can unknowingly fly into the large, clear panes of glass that are indistinguishable from the sky.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) recently concluded a three-year study into the risks the stadium presents to migrating birds, with the results expected later this year.

The stadium’s latest LEED recognition has been met with bemusement by Ann Laughlin, who is part of a coalition of bird conservation groups. She said, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune newspaper: “The stadium won’t truly be green until action is taken to prevent the many unnecessary bird deaths occurring there now.”

Phyllis Kahn, a former legislator who sponsored a bill for buildings that protect birds’ safety, added: “My biggest objection was that an environmental rating wouldn’t look at the effect on birds.”

MSFA chairman Michael Vekich moved to clarify that the LEED rating system, which was created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), is independent from wildlife conservation.

Image: Darb02