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Ford Field Green All Over

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DEARBORN, Feb. 3, 2006 (FCN) -- When the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks hit the turf in Super Bowl XL on Sunday, their helmets and shoulder pads will collide with 300,000 pounds of recycled rubber tires.

Detroit's Ford Field is one of the most environmentally-conscious stadiums in the country. More than 25,000 recycled tires, along with silica sand, make up the three-inch-deep carpet known as "FieldTurf" -- an innovative, environmentally-friendly alternative to previous artificial playing surfaces, according to Andy Acho, worldwide director of Environmental Outreach and Strategy, Ford Motor Company.

"There was no question that this new stadium would be an environmental leader, an example of innovative recycling and other green techniques," said Acho. He and others at Ford Motor Company served as environmental advisors in the construction of the Detroit Lions' home stadium.

It wasn't just a matter of recycling materials. The builders of Ford Field actually recycled part of an unused building. The south portion of the facility incorporates 750,000 square feet of the old J. L. Hudson department store warehouse.

The entire facility utilized 20 million pounds of recycled steel in the ceiling and 10 million pounds in the concrete frame. Recycled glass was mixed into the terrazzo flooring installed on the club and suite levels. Portions of the parking lot used recycled rubber. Floors in the suites and elevator foyers are made of bamboo, a fast-growing, renewable wood.

Super Bowl fans should be comfortable watching the game, thanks to state-of-the art heating and cooling systems that are extremely energy-efficient.

"Ford Field was designed to save approximately 15 percent on energy costs," Acho said, noting that the extensive use of windows brings in natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

The facility's refrigeration systems use high-efficiency motors and are free of chlorofluorocarbons, which have been implicated in damaging the Earth's ozone layer. And during those inevitable trips to the restroom between quarters, Acho noted that fans will be afforded privacy by stalls partially made of recycled plastic.

Ford Motor Company chairman and CEO Bill Ford, who is also vice chairman of the Detroit Lions, worked with Lions CEO and executive vice president Tom Lewand in putting together a "Green Team" to create an earth-friendly stadium. They solicited input from suppliers, contractors and employees.

In a 2000 letter to contractors, Ford described how Ford Motor Company's ongoing effort to work towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment yields a double benefit.

"At Ford Motor Company, we've found that not only is this the right thing to do, it's a good business decision. Using high-quality recycled materials helps the Earth and saves money. That's a winning combination," Ford wrote.

"Bill Ford has been preaching the value of environmentalism for a long time," Acho said. "It was no surprise that he would extend his commitment in building the stadium. His company, after all, introduced the first hybrid SUV, and Ford is the only company that has been actively involved in all four of the major alternate fuel technologies for years -- hydrogen, flex-fuel, diesel and hybrids."

Ford has recruited legendary Muppet Kermit the Frog for a new integrated marketing campaign, featuring the Ford Escape Hybrid. The first TV ad will debut during the second quarter of the game.

If Kermit could take time from his busy schedule to attend the Super Bowl itself, he would feel right at home in Motown's very green stadium.