Eagles rep at White House sustainability event today

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An artist's view of solar panels at Lincoln Financial Field. The installation is due to be completed by December.

This morning, Leonard Bonacci, the director of event operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, will be part of a White House event on sports and sustainability.

The goal, says a White House press release, is "to celebrate industry successes in saving energy, reducing waste, and adopting sustainable practices in professional sports venues and events across the country."

So with him will be NFL player Ovie Mughelli; Bob Nutting, Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh Pirates; and Mike Richter, former goalie for the New York Rangers. And, oh yes, Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Jon Carson, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

The White House notes that some sports venues have been able to divert up to 90 percent of their waste from landfills to recycling facilities, install renewable energy sources such as solar panel arrays and wind turbines, and save as much as $500,000 annually in utility costs. For example, organizations such as the St. Louis Cardinals and the Portland Trail Blazers have cut their stadium energy use by 24 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

The Eagles have long had sustainability in their sites. A few years ago, I spent the evening at the stadium for the home opener -- from the time the stadium lights went on in late afternoon to the final rounds of the recyclers through the stands well after midnight. 

I learned about the renewable energy the team had purchased, the recycling initiatives, the paper products made from recycled paper, the organic chemicals used on the field, and more.

Now, the Eagles have a plan to add solar panels and wind turbines to the stadium, offsetting the electricity they use.

The panels will be the workhorses. The turbines the window dressing to say to the fans, the folks who drive by on I-95 and anyone else who notices: We care about green.

Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, has worked with a lot of the teams and prodded -- er, encouraged and helped -- them to be greener.

Read his op-ed piece to learn why.

He'll be part of the program at the White House today, too.

The event will be streamed live, beginning at 9 a.m., at www.whitehouse.gov/live

Here's the latest story about the Eagles' plans for Lincoln Financial Field.

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