Location Nashville
Size 750,000 ft²
Completed 1996

Building upon their current existing focus, operators of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena have been busy taking further steps toward a broader approach to sustainability for their premier sports and entertainment facility. “We are exploring new measures that will enable us to be even greater stewards of the environment,” says Terry McConnell, senior director of operations for the arena.

Bridgestone Arena opened in December 1996. The facility has hosted more than 13 million guests for various events, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Tournament and tournaments for the Ohio Valley and Southeastern conferences, as well as performances by high-profile musical artists such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones. It also has been the home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators since 1998.


Owner Bridgestone Arena
Waste Management Republic Services
Energy Audit SSRcx Facilities Commissioning

Increasingly, arena management has prioritized the greening of its operations. A facility-wide recycling program, coordinated with Republic Services, enables both customers and vendors to deposit cardboard, plastic, and aluminum cans in receptacles located throughout the facility.

Most recently, Bridgestone administrators conducted two audits—one reviewing energy usage and one examining water consumption—that will be used to determine methods for making the arena more sustainable.

“As a municipal building, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment,” McConnell says. “The focus of the audits was to determine what can be done to bring our building up to today’s energy-efficient standards.” SSRcx, a division of Smith Seckman Reid, was procured by the facility-management team to conduct the energy audit; the goals of which were to assess the arena’s current energy use and cost and identify any potential energy-saving and operational improvements that could be made. The scope of work was consistent with a Level II energy audit as described by ASHRAE guidelines and included a preliminary energy-use analysis, review of the available information concerning mechanical and electrical design and potential energy conservation measures (ECMs), and analysis of identified ECMs to estimate energy use and impacts. The goals of the water audit were to assess the arena’s current water use and cost and identify any potential water-saving improvements that could be made.

Lighting sporting events requires some of the brightest bulbs. Bridgestone Arena switched to T-8s to save energy.

Ongoing review of the audits results, which became available earlier this year, has pointed to several ways Bridgestone Arena might move forward in its sustainability goals. Regarding energy, management plans to replace T-12 bulbs with energy-saving T-8s, and improvements to the lighting system would provide occupancy-based controls for applicable spaces and utilize daylight-harvesting next to glass curtain walls. “This process would enable us to make better use of daylight throughout the facility,” McConnell says. “For instance, in places where daylight is most plentiful, we would be able to reduce in-house lighting to save on electrical costs.” The arena’s outdoor parking structure, which is open to daylight on all sides, is an area that would benefit from such harvesting practices. Implementing bilevel lighting controls and energy-efficient lamps—in the place of metal-halide sources—along concourses will reduce energy costs.


Certification Not applicable
Lighting T-8 bulbs, occupancy controls, energy-efficient lamps, glass walls
HVAC Enthalpy-based economizer controls, occupancy-based and night-setback unit fans
Water Energy-efficient water aerators, low-flow toilets, storm-water management
Recycling Facility-wide recycling program for cardboard, plastic, and aluminum

On the mechanical side, upgrades and replacement of the HVAC control system will have the greatest impact. Enthalpy-based economizer controls are planned for all air-conditioning units while occupancy-based controls, night setback when applicable, and variable frequency drives on unit fans also will be utilized. Installation of more energy-efficient water aerators will figure prominently in Bridgestone’s sustainability efforts. Water flow will be reduced from 2.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute for sink faucets. Similarly, low-flow toilets will replace the current 3.5 gallons used per flush to a more efficient 1.28 gallons. Showerhead aerators will also be swapped out. Furthermore, a planned rainwater-harvesting system will offset the water use for toilets and urinals.

“All of these energy- and water-usage modifications would enable us to take advantage of simple conservation measures that are available to us today,” McConnell says.

These and other enhancements are set to begin later this year. In the meantime, Bridgestone Arena staff and management remain enthusiastic about their sustainability program. “We believe it is a great initiative that is definitely moving us in the right direction,” McConnell says. “It enables us to be ecologically responsible tenants of this building and, at the same time, to remain at the forefront of the sports and entertainment industry.”