Jack Hill, stadium general manager for the Dallas Cowboys, has been immersed in sustainability practices for more than a decade and is incorporating his knowledge along with that of sustainability consultants and engineers to create a nearly 100 percent sustainable stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. Hill manages more than 250 construction workers who are developing the 75,000-seat stadium. He says sustainability methods make good economic sense, and therefore, he wants to capture the opportunities on the market today.
How can businesses educate themselves on sustainable practices?
There’s a lot of information out there, and expert companies are becoming more common. You can find out what works well for some companies just by word-of-mouth. Those who have invested time in being sustainable want to talk about it because they’re so pleased with the results. I would start by going online and looking for local businesses that will perform an audit or contact your local EPA director.
What is the average return on investment once businesses incorporate sustainable practices and invest in more efficient upgrades?
Paybacks are typically between one to five years, which is a good investment, especially for industries that are keenly interested or their customers are interested in sustainability. The return on investment isn’t typically why businesses don’t invest in sustainability though; it’s because they’re accustomed to running things a certain way and are adverse to change, so they’re not even looking into the economic benefit.
Has the recent decrease in fuel prices decreased businesses’ ambition to operate sustainably and utilize alternative energy sources?
I think we all acknowledge that we have to look at the way we use energy for the long term. The cycle goes up and down; we’re just in a downturn now. You’ll want to be in a position to be sustainable now, because once the rates go up, they’ll be higher than before. Making sustainability a part of your corporate philosophy will open you to more opportunities. We’ve just scratched the surface with all of the benefits of sustainability uses for recycled materials, energy-efficient equipment, natural lighting, wind power from energy service providers and use of certain plants that will require less water these steps all reduce your costs.