Through January 11, Geaux Green gives football fans and fans of the environment the opportunity to support their favorite NFL team in a competition for eco-friendly bragging rights.Geaux (pronounced “Go”) Green fans also enter a free drawing to win a prize pack for two to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3.
Through the Geaux Green game (play here!), this campaign encourages fans to choose everyday actions they’ll take to cut back their environmental impact. These include switching to a reusable water bottle, replacing your incandescent light bulbs, programming your thermostat to use less energy when you aren’t home, or joining a carpool.
As sportscasters analyzed the clutch performances of Super Bowl XLVII, an assessment of the event’s environmental performance was also in full motion. The results show the Geaux Green campaign scored a victory for tackling individuals’ carbon emissions and promoting sustainable actions we all can take.
Geaux Green is an initiative developed by the Make an Impact program of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) in partnership with Entergy Corporation and the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee. The campaign encouraged NFL fans to choose everyday actions they can take to save energy and make a positive environmental impact. The initiative featured an online game to see which NFL city has the most energy-conscious, eco-friendly fan base, with one fan winning a trip for 2 to the Super Bowl.
Fans of all 32 NFL teams totaling 2,395 participants played the Geaux Green game by pledging to take energy-saving steps such as washing clothes with cold water, taking shorter showers, lowering the thermostat over night, and carpooling. Geaux Green generated pledged actions to keep more than 22 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. That’s the amount of pollution avoided by taking more than 2,000 cars off the road.
Entergy, the main power provider for New Orleans, agreed to match these pledges with carbon offsets, bringing total emissions avoided through Geaux Green to 45 million pounds of carbon.
Major events like the Super Bowl require a lot of energy. Operating activities at the stadium, convention center that hosted thousands of media members, and team hotels takes an estimated 4,500 megawatts of power and produces an estimated 3.8 million pounds of CO2.
To ensure Super Bowl revelry in New Orleans carried on in a climate-conscious manner, Geaux Green organized a carbon offsets program. Connecting activities in the Big Easy with a Michigan dairy farm, Texas landfill, or California redwood forest may be hard to picture, but that’s exactly what was accomplished. Carbon credits from three Climate Action Reserve-certified offsets projects were purchased to neutralize Super Bowl-related emissions. The projects include a methane capture project in Michigan, a landfill gas collection project in Denton, Texas, and a forest conservation initiative in California’s redwood region.
Entergy bought registered carbon credits generated by these projects to offset the Super Bowl emissions and to match individuals’ Geaux Green pledges. The company estimates its offsets purchase will total more than 26 million pounds of avoided emissions.
People traveling to the Super Bowl by plane, train, car, or bus also had the option of purchasing these carbon credits to offset emissions generated by their trip. The minimum purchase started at $5 in hopes of reducing cost barriers to participation, and Entergy provided a dollar-for-dollar match. In part because of the truncated schedule involved in launching the campaign, the travel offsets received limited promotion and generated minimal participation compared to the energy-saving pledges. A lesson for future campaigns is to improve access to the offsets by integrating this option with points of purchase when people are buying their travel tickets.
Energy Saving Wins
Participation for this first-year initiative slightly exceeded expectations, especially considering Geaux Green launched with just over a month to inform people about the online game before the contest ended. Running a campaign associated with a big event like the Super Bowl inevitably means coordinating with multiple partners, which presented some delays. Effectively navigating different schedules and unexpected holdups is critical to enhancing the outreach and success of future campaigns.
Positive reactions to the Geaux Green campaign from people across different cities demonstrate a shared interest in a community that supports sustainable activities that benefit the environment. The campaign encouraged green initiatives in and around New Orleans, including a bicycle valet service to help promote alternative transportation and ease traffic jams, and a household energy efficiency program focused on lower income individuals.
Fans of New Orleans outperformed other Geaux Green game participants (see standings), while energy savers supporting Denver, Green Bay, and New England made strong showings. And though their team fell a game short, Patriots fans Mark Karolkiewicz of New Hampshire and his son Eric got to attend their first Super Bowl as the Geaux Green prize winners. All game participants were entered to win the contest, with the winner drawn at random.
Karolkiewicz, who installed timers on his indoor and outdoor lights to save energy after making his Geaux Green pledge, was treated to a thrilling 34-31 Baltimore victory. This year’s Super Bowl also included a power outage that Entergy identified as being caused by an unfortunate equipment malfunction. While the incident sparked debate over the national need to upgrade our electric grid, Karolkiewicz’s actions show the everyday steps we can all take to use energy efficiently and make a positive impact on our environment.