Here’s What Makes This Super Bowl Game Super Historic—and Totally Efficient

University of Phoenix Stadium is the first to host NFL games under LED lights.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Matthew Emmons-USA Today Sports/Reuters)
Feb 1, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Jennifer Swann is TakePart’s culture and lifestyle reporter.

It takes a lot of energy to make the Super Bowl happen. But at University of Phoenix Stadium, a recent lighting upgrade means that one aspect of this year's Super Bowl will be more energy-efficient than ever.

Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks marks the first Super Bowl illuminated by LED lights, which boast an estimated 75-percent reduction in power and nearly double the glow of traditional metal halides—like the ones previously installed at the Phoenix, Arizona, stadium when it was built in 2006.

The stadium's new set of 312 LED fixtures need only about 310,000 watts of power, compared with the 1.24 million watts of power required by the 780 metal halide bulbs.

Aside from the approximate savings of $139 per hour on the cost of lighting the field, University of Phoenix Stadium's LED installation was motivated by a bigger goal: achieving certification as a qualified Leadership Energy and Environmental Design Operations and Maintenance facility. To do so, the 63,400-seat stadium implemented a rigorous recycling program and monitors real-time electrical usage to avoid excessive use. The staff also ride around the venue on bicycles rather than electric- or gas-powered carts.

The first NFL game to be played under LEDs was held at the Phoenix stadium last year, when the Arizona Cardinals faced off against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers' Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, is the first stadium home to an NFL football team to receive LEED Gold certification as new construction.

But despite its green rooftop, three solar bridges, and hundreds of solar panels, Levi's Stadium failed to install LED lights when it was built in 2012. Since then, LEDs have become something of a trend in the NFL. The NRG stadium in Houston, Texas, installed the energy-efficient lighting in October, and the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium is set to unveil its LED lighting when it opens in 2016.
The Cardinals' stadium might not yet boast LEED certification, but it's thousands of watts ahead of other NFL stadiums when it comes to tackling efficient lighting—and that's something worth illuminating.