Location Arlington, TX
Size 3 million ft²
Completed 2009

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, can fit more than 100,000 people during large events such as the Super Bowl, when the arena is filled to the brim. With such a large capacity, the three million-square-foot domed space, home to the Dallas Cowboys, requires a high amount of energy to run, but Scott Woodrow, director of engineering at the stadium, implemented a “going-green-is-free” motto, and the stadium has reduced its carbon footprint significantly in the past four years.

In the first year, the stadium’s energy consumption was reduced by approximately 15 percent, adding another 10 percent by the second year. It is on track to reduce energy consumption by another 15 percent this year by continuing to implement a multiphase energy-efficiency plan. “It’s the right thing to do,” Woodrow says. “We need to conserve natural resources. Water and energy are the two biggies. Then you will reduce the pollution that is going out into the environment.”

Although these arches aren’t a green feature of the stadium, they’re noteworthy for their size; the dual arches span a quarter mile across the stadium and weigh 3,255 tons. Photos: Cliff Baise

Increasing efficiency also makes economic sense. “Most of your green initiatives will pay for themselves, even things like our LED lighting,” Woodrow says. “When we are saving energy by reducing, it means we are reducing someplace where we were wasting energy before and therefore wasting money.”


Owner City of Arlington
Operator The Dallas Cowboys

One of the big ways the stadium has saved is through its lighting retrofits. Timers have been installed, and the staff puts them into “dark mode” at night. This year, Voss Lighting helped retrofit two driving ramps that go from the ground level of the stadium down to the field level. “We did a one-for-one change out, replacing approximately 170 of the existing 150-watt metal-halide fixtures with 70-watt LED fixtures from Lighting Science Group called the C2D,” says Jeff Lamb, a lighting specialist at Voss. “Working together with the local utility company and an electrical contractor, we helped the stadium receive a rebate, which covered a good portion of the project.” This retrofit will save the stadium around $12,000 per year.Voss also introduced 25-watt, 4-inch, T-8s throughout the facility, LEDs in the elevators, LED and IRC replacements for all the standard halogens in the clubs and gift shops, LED/CFL replacements for the A19s, LED indicator bulbs in various electrical panels, and many other lower-wattage replacement products.


Certification Not applicable
Roof White PVC coating, retractable roof for ventilation and natural lighting
Exterior Double-paned, ceramic-fritted glass angled 14 degrees to minimize solar heat gain
Recycling Recycling bins throughout stadium concourse
Lighting LED lighting fixtures throughout complex

Lighting isn’t the stadium’s only green arena. Throughout the past three years, the stadium’s chiller plant has conserved energy through detailed programming. “We are now going through another iteration of reprogramming the whole sequence to try to incorporate some of the newer energy-management techniques,” Woodrow says. “We are utilizing the air handlers and chilled-water system and are able to optimize by changing the temperature and pressure of the chilled water to match the need.”

Cowboys Stadium also initiated a recycling program, placing recycling bins for plastic and cardboard throughout the stadium concourse. These bins capture about 20 percent of waste that could be recycled; Woodrow hopes to increase this number with better awareness. Currently, public service announcements remind patrons to recycle during the game, but there remains recyclable waste in the stands after games.

The stadium has saved money via a reflective white PVC coating on its dome, which meets LEED requirements, and its retractable roof, which provides natural ventilation and reduces the need for air-conditioning. The field’s end zone doors are glass, and the translucent roof allows for natural lighting during the day. The building exterior is covered with double-paned, ceramic-fritted glass that is angled 14 degrees out from the building and spans from bottom to top, minimizing solar heat gain.