SOLAR PRODUCTION117.9MWh OF CLEAN ENERGY
EQUIVALENT TO 91.4 TONS OF CARBON OFFSET
EQUIVALENT TO $12,620 DOLLARS SAVED
EQUIVALENT TO 198,140 MILES NOT DRIVEN
When you think of NASCAR, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t sustainability. But as Kurt Busch powered through a last-lap pass to claim his first Daytona 500 win in the iconic race, the flag that was raised at racetracks across the country wasn’t the only thing green: NASCAR is making a concerted effort to improve sustainability and cut the carbon footprint of one of the largest and most popular spectator sports in the United States.
From solar-powered tracks to hospitality suite menus featuring food from organic farms, NASCAR racetracks, teams, drivers and the NASCAR organization are examining multiple aspects of the sport to increase sustainability – even switching its official fuel to a more environmentally-friendly choice.
Sunoco’s Green E15 biofuel is entering its seventh season as the official fuel of NASCAR, and the cleaner-burning fuel has dropped tailpipe emissions 20 percent, according to the Fuel Freedom Foundation, an industry nonprofit dedicated to providing fuel choice.
Individual racetracks are also getting in on the green movement – at Daytona International Speedway (where the Daytona 500 race is run), more than 7,000 solar panels generate 2.1 megawatts of zero-emissions solar energy – enough to power the Speedway’s operations as well as help to provide energy for Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) 4.8 million customers. FPL estimates that the clean energy generated by the three canopy-like structures will prevent the emission of 2,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the average vehicle driving more than 2 million laps around the Speedway’s track.
NASCAR also operates a carbon offset tree-planting program, partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation and the Virginia Department of Forestry to plant more than 400,000 trees across the United States, including areas affected by natural disasters. The program reportedly offsets emissions for all NASCAR racing series for the past six years as well as the next 40 years, according to NASCAR Green, the sport’s sustainability website.
Recycling and waste diversion are another major focus area for NASCAR’s sustainability efforts. NASCAR reports that the program has accounted for 120,000 Goodyear tires and 200,000 gallons of oil recycled across the sport’s top three national series each year, as well as an estimated total of 25 million bottles and cans recycled since 2008.
Food is also part of NASCAR’s work in sustainability – more than 5.4 tons of food have been composted since the organization piloted its program in 2015. Unused food is being donated to local food banks, and NASCAR reports donating more than 1,000 meals to local communities.
While racing may not be inherently green, the industry’s intensive focus on sustainability shows that regardless of what we do, there are smart choices we can make to reduce our impact on the environment. What smart choice for sustainability will you make today?
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