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How the U.S. Open is Generating Power with an Eco-Friendly Twist
June marked the 115th championship on the greens of the Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash. with more than 250,000 in attendance and one of the most dramatic and memorable finishes ever.
Physical construction for this large-scale event began more than six weeks before the championship, as workers started building the tents, grandstands and holding areas needed for a sporting event of this magnitude. The 18th green even housed a grandstand that holds 6,000 attendees—the largest to ever be constructed at a U.S. Open.
Chambers Bay is the one of only three publicly-owned golf courses who have had the chance to host the grand event, but it’s making history in other ways too—with conscious sustainability efforts.
The greens are already a part of the Audubon Signature Program, which means the eco-friendly course meets specific standards pertaining to water quality, resource conservation and wildlife protection. But, this year, The Home Depot is working with Chambers Bay and the United States Golf Association (USGA) to take it a step further and ensure materials used during the U.S. Open have the utmost impact following the event.
To take sustainability efforts to next level, the team is introducing a new method to recycle event materials in a manner that’s more sustainable for the environment. “A typical event like this would have about 40-50 large dumpster containers filled with lumber once everything has been taken down,” says Dave Palanuk, Home Depot Regional Pro Sales Manager for the Pacific Northwest. “This year, we’re working with a company to break all the lumber into wood chips, bringing the number of containers down to roughly 10.” It’s estimated the process will yield approximately 220 tons of wood chips.
Creating a smaller footprint isn’t all that’s happening.
The wood chips will also be burned to generate electricity. According to the George Forestry Commission, 220 tons of wood chips can be recycled to yield over 145,000 kWhrs of electricity—that’s enough to power more than 12 homes for a year. This new plan allows the lumber to be recycled rather than end up wasted in a landfill.
As USGA and Home Depot look to the future of tournament building and sustainability, this year’s event was a big first step in making the U.S. Open better than ever—on and off the green.