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49ers new stadium: NRG Energy to help bring sustainable energy as Founding Partner

We take a look at the latest addition to the 49ers stadium project. NRG Energy will assist in the 49ers attempt to open the new stadium with LEED certification. LEED certification measures building energy sustainability.

As the 49ers continue to prepare for Super Bowl 47, construction continues at their new stadium in Santa Clara. The stadium is scheduled to open in 2014, which means there is plenty to be done. As the weeks pass, more deals are completed as part of the project.

Earlier this week, the 49ers announced NRG Energy was joining the project as a Founding Partner. NRG is coming on board to help develop sustainable energy at the new stadium. Jed York's vision of the new stadium is one of technological brilliance and environmental soundness. Every stadium has something different, and given the new stadium's location in Silicon Valley, this focus is looking to be second to none.

As part of the move toward an environmentally friendly venue, the 49ers are hoping to achieve LEED certification when the stadium opens in 2014. The US Green Building Council assesses projects for LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and "is a voluntary, consensus-based, market­-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings."

To achieve LEED certification, the stadium must satisfy a variety of LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale. If you're looking for something to do on a lazy Sunday, you can learn more about the certification process at the USGBC website.

The new stadium will feature a variety of mechanisms to achieve some measure of sustainability. NRG will lead that effort by "install[ing] a number of state-of-the-art solar elements, including three solar array-covered bridges, a solar canopy above the green roof on the suite tower portion of the stadium and solar panels over the 49ers training center." The green roof will be on the west side of the stadium, while the three solar bridges, connecting the main parking area to the stadium, will include hundreds of solar panels. As the 49ers and NRG describe it:

The arrays will have a total peak capacity of about 400kW and will provide enough power over the course of a year to offset the power consumed at the stadium during 49ers home games. As a result the stadium will be the first professional sports venue in California to achieve net zero energy performance.

The 49ers new stadium is one of two finalists for Super Bowl L in 2016, with Miami serving as the other finalist. The NFL will announce the host later this spring.