Orlando Arena Goes Green

Officials with the NBA’s Orlando Magic have awarded HOK Sport and its partners the contract to design the team’s new, "green," 18,500-capacity arena.

Joining HOK, a leader in green building design, in the planning are the firms William P. Moore and Smith Seckman Reid, according to a statement from HOK.

The Florida arena, scheduled to open in 2010, will be designed as an eco-friendly facility under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for low pollution and energy efficiency developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED standards cover the areas of site development, energy efficiency, water conservation, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Stephanie Graham, HOK Sport sustainability coordinator, told Pollstar that LEED certification isn’t required to establish a building as green but designates that building as a peak performer.

"There are not any certified arenas right now so we, of course, want to work with the Magic and [the city of] Orlando to help them create the greenest facility that we can," Graham said. "Regardless of whether we register for LEED certification sustainability – or ‘green building’ as it is generally known – it’s something we do with every facility we design."

HOK is also incorporating green elements in designs for new ballparks for the Minnesota Twins and the Washington Nationals, so the three projects pose their own challenges.

"When you’ve got a facility that is largely outdoors like a stadium, it makes it difficult to address some of those particular green building credits but it certainly isn’t impossible," Graham explained. "It just means we need to be more creative in how we apply it to a building like an arena or stadium."

The proposed Orlando facility, scheduled to break ground next summer, will replace the aging 17,500-capacity Amway Arena.

The $480 million project is part of a $1.1 billion plan that includes a new performing arts center and Citrus Bowl stadium upgrades.