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Soccer team makes game-changing renovation to stadium: 'We have a duty to spread [this] message'

"Football has an unparalleled presence in mass media."

"Football has an unparalleled presence in mass media."

Photo Credit: iStock

An Italian soccer team has teamed up with a local utility company to cover the roof of its stadium in solar panels, Reuters reported. The project is intended to both provide clean energy for the stadium and increase climate awareness in the surrounding community.

Udinese Calcio competes in Serie A, which means that it is in the top tier of Italian soccer. Its popularity led the people who run the team to seriously consider its impact and influence, and how those forces could be used for good.

"Football has an unparalleled presence in mass media and, in addition to our own responsibility to act in a moral way, we have a duty to spread messages that encourage fans to come together in the fight against climate change," said Udinese Calcio general manager Franco Collavino.

The solar roof, built by local utility company Bluenergy Group, will consist of 2,400 panels and produce a daily average of 3,000 kilowatt-hours. The two partners are also considering a battery storage system. The whole system is expected to go online in October.

Though this is one example of a sports stadium making a positive environmental contribution to the surrounding community, often stadiums go in the opposite direction. Especially in the United States, stadiums almost always come with massive parking lots. These parking lots are devastating to the local ecosystem, and the cars they bring in contribute to air pollution and the overheating of our planet.

Even when parking lots aren't an issue, stadium construction has resulted in trees being cleared and urban heat islands being created.

In rarer cases, however, stadium designers have sought to bring even more trees to the area in which they are constructing their projects — such as the proposed International Forest Stadium, which would include thousands of plants as part of its design. Those plants, in addition to beautifying the project, would absorb carbon dioxide from the air, making it healthier and more pleasant for everyone.

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