Ford Field Stadium Home of Detroit Lions Biggest Loser in Mixed Use Category

Detroit’s Ford Field Stadium is in year three of a five-year energy reduction plan. Home to the Detroit Lions football team, the 1.8 million-square-foot stadium includes 420 thousand square feet of tenant office space and a 275 thousand-square-foot parking deck.

Ford Field Facility Director Fred Reddig attributes the facility’s 5.87 percent energy reduction and strong Michigan Battle of the Buildings showing to his hard-working facility maintenance team and the support of senior management. “We have a fantastic internal team that works very hard to implement these energy-saving projects,” he explains. “We typically consider a five-year return on investment a viable project, and senior management has been great to work with.”

Reddig cites numerous projects completed in the past three years, including:

  • The replacement of 660 metal halide field lights with 260 LED fixtures that provide improved lighting;
  • The expansion of lighting schemes from 12 to 40, programmable at the individual breakers, to accommodate smaller events;
  • The conversion of concourse lighting from T5 lamps to LED hybrids;
  • The greater use of daylighting on the concourses;
  • The use of variable speed drivers on domestic water pumps, which reduced running them at 100 percent capacity down to 20 percent;
  • Replacement of the outside damper system over leased office to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling costs.

It is anticipated that the eventual replacement of the remaining air dampers and controls will result in an added 10 percent energy savings in the facility’s chiller plant alone.

Ford Field takes advantage of utility company incentives and works very closely with DTE Energy, its electricity provider. To date, the venue has received several rebates to help fund its energy projects.  The initiatives have reduced the use of electricity, natural gas, steam and water/sewer costs, saving Ford Field approximately 15 percent in utility costs. And there is more to come: “We are about 75 percent finished with retrofitting our lighting over to LED,” Reddig says.

The year 2016 marked the second time that Ford Field competed in the Michigan Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition. Reddig presented the Ford Field story at the 2016 Battle of the Buildings Energy Summit, and this year his organization is a summit sponsor. “It is a great event that highlights the sustainability efforts of all different types of venues and buildings,” he says, “and as an organization, the Detroit Lions is committed to supporting sustainability.”

Pictured from left to right: Laurie Clayton-Detroit Lions, Jamie Bragenzer-Detroit Lions, Fred Reddig-Detroit Lions, Todd Argust-Detroit Lions.

A Green Team meets monthly to work on Ford Field’s sustainability efforts. Among other projects the team is presently considering is the feasibility of capturing rainwater for irrigating green spaces, and possibly toilets.

When asked about recent notable energy efficiency projects, Reddig mentions the 2015 installation of water softeners used in the towers at the facility’s chiller plant. The process enabled the total dissolved solids (TDS) to be increased from 1,000 to approximately 1,800, which resulted in less blowdown and less makeup water, for a savings of three million gallons of water in its first year of operation alone.

Based on the successes achieved in the first three years of its five-year plan, Ford Field is now looking ahead and planning future energy-efficiency initiatives.

Published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal
Written by Renae Hesselink of Nichols