Ten months after the first golden shovels broke ground on the new Santa Clara Stadium, Project Executive Jack Hill was standing on the green roof of the nine-story suite tower, 170 feet above the field level.
In an effort to be one of the world's premier sustainable outdoor venues, the 49ers are taking many environmental measures to use and produce energy efficiently. View a photo gallery of the latest progress at the new stadium site.
The 20,000-square-foot green roof, which is above the suite tower that now features glass windows, will be waterproofed and filled with plants over the next few months. The new stadium will also use recycled water and feature a high-efficiency geothermal water system.
"We've incorporated a lot of energy saving measures within the stadium itself," Hill said. "We're here less than a year after we broke ground and the progress has just been amazing. Great cooperation from the building trades that are building the stadium and all the other 49ers partners like the city and the (Santa Clara) Stadium Authority have done a great job to get it to this point. The trades have done an excellent job of working tirelessly; almost every night, sometimes 24 hours a day to get to this point."
Another major environmental effort of the new Santa Clara Stadium was announced Tuesday, as locally-based SunPower was named the stadium's official and exclusive solar technology partner.
SunPower will supply 400 kilowatts of its high efficiency solar panels that will be used to generate enough electricity over the course of a year to offset the power consumed by the stadium during 49ers home games. Just a month ago, it was announced that NRG would be the exclusive sustainable energy partner of the team and the new stadium. NRG will install SunPower's high-efficiency solar panels atop the green roof to form a solar canopy, on the roof of the 49ers training facility, and above various bridges surrounding the stadium.
"We are pleased that SunPower's industry-leading solar technology will be an integral part of our innovative and sustainable vision for the stadium," 49ers CEO Jed York said. "As we strive to create a sports and entertainment venue that embodies all that is special about the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, it is fitting that SunPower, with its global headquarters less than two miles from the new stadium, will be providing us with its high-efficiency solar panels."
Both the east and west side of the stadium have also been fitted with the lights that will enable the 49ers to host primetime games, starting in 2014. The 49ers will bid farewell to famed Candlestick Park following the 2013 season, because of a dedicated local workforce which is working around-the-clock to usher in the newest era of 49ers football.
"We've got about 825 workers on site every day and that number continues to grow," Hill said. "Each week, there are more workers that come out here. We're a little over 30 percent complete with the stadium. Fans as they drive by, will notice a lot of the interior spaces are being finished out. You can see it through the steel. We're putting up escalators, elevators, a lot of drywall framing and masonry work is going on."
Glass has also started to be installed on the suite tower, which is located on the west side of the stadium, and will form a water-tight envelope for crews to work inside on rainy days.
Below the tower, precast concrete that forms the upper and middle bowls of the stadium have been lowered into place and construction crews are now installing the intermediate steps which will allow fans to go up and down the seating bowls.
Up next, the crews will add the precast concrete on the recently-installed steel structure of the lower bowl, which also features plazas on the northwest and southwest corners of the stadium.
"These are big open plazas, fans will love these areas because they'll be very active on gamedays," Hill said. "You can now get a real feel for what the bowl is going to feel like as a result of the structural steel being in place.
"We are still on pace for a 2014 opening. Things look very good and we're very encouraged by the progress to date, we just need to keep up the pace."