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  • [ February 25, 2013 ]
  • NASCAR leads the way in sport sustainability

Photo courtesy of green.nascar.com

America’s beloved NASCAR is racing its way toward sustainability with the efforts of it’s NASCAR Green program. Because of NASCAR’s loyal audience and leadership in the sporting world, its efforts have been well-received and have challenged other sports’ to adopt sustainability programs.

Since 2011, the NASCAR Green program focuses on sustainability as a whole, from tire recycling to tree planting to biofuels, it works to educate fans and reduce the sport’s environmental impact. The program develops partnerships with racing teams, tracks nationwide, and official partners.

In regards to energy sustainability, NASCAR developed a partnership with Sunoco and American Ethanol in 2011. It has developed a long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions of the fuel used during all racing series. The three national touring series began using Sunoco Green E15, a renewable fuel blended with 15 percent American-made ethanol from locally grown corn. Sunoco is the official fuel of NASCAR and the Green E15 blend emits 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than unleaded gas. While the blended gas is low on GHG emissions, it is not a “lesser” fuel for racing–Sunoco Green E15 has been used in over two million miles of NASCAR races and has increase vehicle horsepower up to 10 hp.

In an interview with GreenBiz, NASCAR managing director of green innovation, Mike Lynch, said that the proof of ethanol fuel’s viability in racing gives its audience a tangible example that alternative energy works–we wouldn’t use the product if it didn’t work. Putting sustainability and biofuels in the context of sports makes the audience care and think positively about it.

NASCAR Green and Official Partner programs are implemented at all race tracks around the country, but each track is encouraged to take additional steps in sustainability. One important example is Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. In July 2010 Pocono installed a 3-MW solar farm to power all the track’s energy needs. The solar farm is made up of 40,000 solar panels on 25 acres of land, which is the tracks primary electricity source and also supports the community’s local power grid by powering more than 250 homes.

NASCAR’s operational offices recently moved into two new LEED certified buildings. One Silver LEED certified, 20-story NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., and the other a Gold LEED Certified International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.

NASCAR Green continues to grow by creating new programs and setting new benchmarks to reduce the sport’s impact on the environment and hopes to continue to lead the way in sporting sustainability.

To see the full scope of the NASCAR Green program, read their report: The Sports Leader in Sustainability.

Source: NASCAR’s sustainability race: Q&A with Mike Lynch, GreenBiz.com

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