There were quite a few firsts for the 49ers Sunday night. The 49ers hosted their first football game in Levi's Stadium, they lost a home opener under coach Jim Harbaugh for the first time, and they also became the first team to lose in the new stadium with a 28-20 win for the Chicago Bears.
The San Francisco 49ers cut the ribbon on their new $1.2 billion stadium on July 17, making it the first newly constructed stadium in the National Football League to receive a LEED Gold certification.
Designed by HNTB and built by Turner/Devcon for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, the venue (measured at 1.85 million square feet with seating for around 68,500 spectators) accumulated 41 points on the 39-51 point scale required of the LEED Gold rating system, and will achieve net zero energy performance.
The 49ers' 10 scheduled home games will be completely powered by solar energy collected year-round, thanks to the installation of 1,162 photovoltaic panels around the stadium, three NRG Energy Bridges, and a 27,000-square foot NRG Solar Terrace. The playing field is decked out for sustainability as well, made of Bermuda Bandera grass which consumes 50 percent less water than other fields.
David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy, made a strong statement in the press release from Levi's Stadium's grand opening:
Achieving this LEED Gold certification, a first for a stadium in the U.S., is a sterling achievement that demonstrates remarkable leadership in environmental design and construction ... It is the latest example of how the use of distributed solar power can deliver both environmental and economic benefits to customers of all sizes, connecting them to the growing trend of sustainability in our society.
Hopefully the disappointing firsts this past weekend have not completely overshadowed the trail blazing achievements of Levi's Stadium for 49ers fans. At the very least, San Franciscans can rest easy that compared to other energy-sucking stadiums, Levi's Stadium will be number one for a long time.
Read more about the stadium in Levi's Stadium's press release >>