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Audi Field gets $25 million for environmental initiatives

Major League Soccer team DC United is to receive a $25 million private clean energy funding package for installation of state-of-the-art energy and water efficiency measures at its new Audi Field stadium.

Measures include an 884 KW solar array and stormwater retention systems on Audi Field, United’s new soccer-specific stadium with capacity for 20,000 people opening next year.

The measures are funded through the Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Property Assessed Clean Energy (DC PACE) programme, DC’s innovative green funding solution which operates through a public-private-partnership, allowing local lenders to fund environmentally beneficial projects at no cost to taxpayers.

The hallmark of the deal is the planned installation of 884KW of building-integrated solar panels installed on the stadium’s canopy and throughout the site.

This system, to be developed by DC-based New Columbia Solar, will provide roughly one million kilowatt hours of solar power annually, enough to offset almost a third of the stadium’s projected electricity usage.

PACE will also fund high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, LED field lighting, additional building insulation, low-flow water fixtures, a green roof, and stormwater management measures that meet the District’s highest standards for protecting the Anacostia River.

The deal, done through a partnership with locally-based EagleBank, marks the nation’s largest single PACE note issued to-date, and the first issued for a stadium project.

Jason Levien, United managing general partner, said:

DC United are committed to building an environmentally responsible stadium, in addition to providing a world class soccer venue. DC PACE funding is allowing this project to achieve LEED Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and to save about $125,000 annually on utility bills through LED lighting on the field and a host of other green measures throughout the site.

As the first stadium to use PACE financing, we are excited to make Audi Field a national leader in environmental performance and green community benefits.

In total, the stadium’s PACE-funded measures will result in a 25% reduction in energy use and will reduce emissions by 820 metric tons of CO2 annually – roughly equivalent to taking 173 cars off the road.

These reductions are critical components of Washington, DC’s ongoing efforts to achieve the Sustainable DC and Clean Energy DC goals, which call for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, increasing the use of renewable energy to 50% of the District’s energy supply, and reducing energy use by 50% by 2032.

In addition, through green roofs, bioretention areas, and infiltration basins, the site will provide storage for more than 55,000 cubic feet of stormwater onsite.

Mayor Bowser said:

We know that cities throughout the US will be leading the fight against climate change, and this deal is an example of how Washington, D.C. can think globally while acting locally. This deal will not only allow us to green Audi Field, it will also create new opportunities for local businesses and high-quality green jobs for DC residents.