MWMA Members Tour Detroit's Ford Field
Waste Management Professionals Marvel at Facility's Recycled Materials Content
By Brett Rosenberg
November 3, 2003
This year marks the second football season of operations at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions and possibly the most environmentally friendly stadium in the world. The facility replaces the Silverdome, an indoor suburban stadium, bringing sports fans by the thousands into Detroit's central business district and catalyzing downtown economic redevelopment.
Following a presentation about his company's numerous environmental programs, Andrew Acho, Worldwide Director of Environmental Outreach and Strategy for Ford Motor Company, briefed MWMA members on Ford's involvement in facilitating the stadium's construction and operations.
During the tour, MWMA members gleaned a number of strategies for reusing common discarded material. Ford Field incorporates bamboo, a fast-growing, renewable resource, in the flooring of its elevator foyers and luxury suites; in the club and suite levels, the terrazzo flooring contains recycled glass; and stall dividers in the more than 100 restrooms are made from recycled plastic soft drink bottles. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of recycling efforts at Ford Field is the playing field. The artificial turf looks and feels like grass but the turf fibers are actually made from a polyethylene and polypropylene blend overlying a fill of silica sand and crumb rubber recycled from over 25,000 used tires.
Remarkable still is Ford Field's history as a former Brownfield site. With financial assistance from the local and county governments and several private sources, Detroit was able to construct the 65,000'seat Ford Field where a large cotton warehouse facility operated 80 years ago. Major structural elements of much of the warehouse complex, including several brick facades, remain as integral parts of the stadium's architecture. While the entire facility is enclosed, a major interior thoroughfare resembles Detroit's commercial past, with traditionally styled shops and restaurants lining what used to be the intersection of Adams and Beaubien Streets, with the original front of the Old Hudson Warehouse composing the primary street side structure. Ford Field integrates a number of other green strategies in its architecture and operations, including natural light, regulated electrical consumption and a more efficient trash compacter.