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Sustainable Impacts for Architectural Design of Venues

Over the past 18 months, the SSR team has been engaged in numerous high-profile pursuits for the sports and entertainment market. Time after time, when an owner was asked what they valued most or what they really wanted the new venue to speak to, we consistently heard these areas of focus: fan experience, fan comfort, and innovation. Oh, don’t forget about budget. As a building performance engineer with a passion for sustainability, I’ve found that sustainability elements can be layered into each of these areas when you proactively think about the site and venue’s potential before presenting an initial design to the ownership team. Incorporating sustainable elements into the design of a venue can also positively impact the overall project budget and operations costs.


We have found that the most successful projects happen when we’re invited to collaborate with the architect at the earliest stages of design concepts. By engaging our team of building performance engineers, energy modelers, and sustainability consultants early, we’re able to help inform and guide the design so an architectural pitch to an owner includes proven concepts on what the end project can achieve. Engaging us early ensures that these sustainability elements are engrained in the design and costs are included in the overall project instead of being an added cost down the road.


Owners expect these high-profile venues to be unique. Our team comprehensively looks at the different elements of a project and incorporates them into the design, helping deliver that unique facility. What some may see as a challenge to be mitigated, we see an opportunity to incorporate into the design for the benefit of the venue. Is the project in a cold climate with heavy annual snowfall? Design a facility that capitalizes on the snowfall and uses the water from snowmelt as on site greywater. Is your venue in a hot, dry climate? The canopies used to shade seats can be used to create an elevated solar farm to generate energy and power the facility. By looking at the natural potential of a site, we’re able to incorporate sustainable elements into the design that can have significant savings over the life of a building. Our team can also help establish the building’s orientation and select construction materials by considering the different options and making choices that align with the venue’s goals.


The technology and capabilities used in building modeling software have exponentially increased in recent years. We are able to model and study these design elements early and use the findings to prove savings and results. We can model the seating bowl of a venue and determine temperature seat by seat for anticipated game time conditions. This information can be used to make adjustments that result in more uniform temperature throughout the bowl or the seats can be designated as premium, and ticket costs reflect this designation.


As an extension of the architectural team early on in the project, we’re able to propose a venue that showcases all the possibilities and let an owner decide how to proceed. We believe that integrating sustainable elements into the initial venue design has the largest impact and contributes to the overall project goals with the least impact on budget.