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Trail Blazers make one NBA arena green

Apr 19, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

If you’re going to make the NBA more environmentally friendly, you start with the games.

Not so much on the court, but the festival and arenas around them. Those arenas are filled with discarded plastic beer cups, foil hot dog wrappers, mountains of trash. Massive amounts of energy are used to light and air condition the facilities. Almost everyone drives to the games and there is little encouragement to do otherwise. The Arenas are an environmental nightmare.

Portland — about the most environmentally friendly big city in the nation — is trying to change that. So much so that the Rose Garden has been named a LEED gold building, a high standard on the rating scale used to judge how environmentally friendly a building is.

“Our Portland fan base cares deeply about their impact on our natural heritage,” said Larry Miller, president of the Portland Trail Blazers. “Oregon is one of the most beautiful, livable places on the planet, and commitment to being good environmental stewards is part of what defines our region. This is a team effort, involving all of us working together.”

That mountain of trash at games? In Portland, more than 60 percent of it is sorted out and sent to recycling centers, not landfills. As part of this, the food vendors in the stadium divert their food waste as well.

All those cars? In Portland 30 percent of the people come to the games via bicycles or public transportation. Members of the Blazer staff can get subsides for public transportation and the team uses bikes or electric vehicles to get around for building on site operations.

All that energy wasted? The Rose Garden has energy efficient lights installed, low-flow plumbing fixtures and more. Plus the Rose Garden partnered with Pacific Power and NW Natural for the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy programs for the Rose Garden.

There’s more, things like using environmentally friendly cleaning materials.

It’s a lot of little things that add up to a big thing. And help keep one NBA arena green.

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