Sustainability Architect Jason McLennan, who worked with Oak View Group on the design and operation of the Climate Pledge Arena, said the GOAL membership platform will improve engagement across the sports industry.Taryn Graham
sports facility operator Companies interested in running their spaces in a more sustainable way have long been left largely alone in their search for ways to do so.
Oak View Group has launched GOAL (Green Operations), a membership platform that helps you run your venues in a greener way by accessing Amazon Web Services (AWS)-powered software that includes a tactical roadmap. and Advanced Leadership), we want to change that. A library of resources including vetted vendor lists, progress tracking tools and the free exchange of knowledge and experience between GOAL member venues. OVG launched the initiative in partnership with the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, Fenway Sports Group, and Green Building Architect Jason McLennan (who also invests in GOAL).
McLennan, who worked with OVG on the sustainable design and operation of the Climate Pledge Arena, said: “The tools we are developing will energize peer-to-peer learning, friendly competition, and really gamify this process of doing better in the world. It attracts millions of people, and the opportunity to make an impact on this kind of domain is huge.”
OVG hired Kristen Fulmer to run GOAL. She will assume the title of Director of Sustainability. While she will report to her OVG360 President Chris Granger, GOAL will be offered as a separate service from other services available to her OVG360 Venue clients. At her Recipric, a sustainability consultancy, Fulmer was clear that in the sports industry she needed something beyond LEED certification. Operating a building sustainably is a journey, not an off-the-list item, like completing a green venue construction project.
“There is a gap in the market for operators to continue to make more sustainable decisions,” said Fulmer. “Coming from Recipric, when I was trying to work with the team and other organizations, they were always pointing the finger at the facility and facility operators.”
Hawks and Fenway Sports are part of a founding circle of over 10 organizations that have beta tested the GOAL software and developed content and strategies. Founding Circle partners will be announced by OVG later this year. A GOAL member (who doesn’t have to be OVG360’s 200+ venue clients) pays an annual fee that varies depending on the size and type of building. Granger estimates that the average arena pays in his mid-fives range.
Granger experienced the same shortages Fulmer mentioned after helping the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons open a state-of-the-art LEED-certified arena. Granger, the venue’s longtime operator, has been told by peers interested in making the venue more sustainable that embracing climate change is no longer an issue, but where to start. I heard constant complaints about not knowing. Sustainability is often lost in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day business.
The Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena had to create their own roadmap to achieve TRUE Zero Waste certification for this NBA playoff game in May 2021. One of GOAL’s purposes is to provide that guidance to members moving forward.Getty Images
“We had a lot of people interested in this topic, and we had to point them in the right direction,” Granger said. “The idea of GOAL is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Climate Pledge Arena. A 30-year-old building is not necessarily carbon-free. No worries, here are 54 things that might make a difference in your world.”
Early in the GOAL creation process, Granger scoured the State Farm Arena in Atlanta for a team that included Sophie Armenakian, the Hawks’ Sustainability Officer.
“I was hunting them down,” Granger said. “I think Sophie was one of my first calls when we were pondering ideas.”
State Farm Arena achieved TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification during the late May 2021 NBA playoff games. His GM of State Farm Arena, Brett Stefansson, said that Arena got out of his 10% waste diversion was largely due to Armenakian’s tenacity. In 2019, we achieved zero waste certification (over 90%) after two years. There was no guidance for achieving zero waste.
“Even today, we are looking for applicable solutions that do not yet exist,” said Armenakian. “By providing some of these solutions, I think GOAL will be a great tool for many to continue their personal journeys.”
Fenway Sports Group also joined early on, with McLennan joining GOAL’s board of directors and working with Fulmer on the company’s content and strategy. McLennan’s expertise includes developing sustainable construction and operating standards, such as his WELL Building Standard, which gained prominence during his COVID period due to its focus on air quality. Part of McLennan’s role at GOAL is working with Fulmer to continuously update the platform’s standards, protocols and tools.
“You have to constantly adjust to new realities, technologies and new materials,” he said. “We want to stay on the cutting edge. It’s not a one-time decision and it’s not going to change for the next ten years. We make sure this is always appropriate.”
GOAL membership includes monthly best practice calls, annual sustainability conferences, access to direct consultations with Fulmer, and the AWS platform to enable extensive data sharing within the GOAL group to establish baselines. Includes software. Venue data is anonymized to avoid embarrassing underperforming organizations, but for example, 30 years ago a Midwestern arena operator identified his venue as someone else in his GOAL. Contains enough detail to allow comparison with similar buildings in software, or a new building in another part of the country.
“Context is important for operators,” says Granger. “It all boils down to this.”
AWS is also working with OVG to create a community/chat feature within their software. Granger and his extensive NBA background hope to serve as “his TMBO of sustainability.” Encourage best practices among the league’s teams.
Now GOAL is basically Fulmer and Granger, people interested in sustainability for different teams and venues. OVG may hire even more people in the next few years, but even then, GOAL members are equally valuable in sharing knowledge and promoting sustainable business in the sports industry. prize.
“I’m a venue person. I was an operator,” Granger said. “It’s really important to me that this makes their lives easier and gives them direction, so I’m very focused on making sure this doesn’t happen out of the ivory tower. It’s happening from the venues that pull in. These are the venues that I want to run the farthest and fastest, and I want to be with them. This is a big issue for us.”