The sound of sprinklers on an early summer morning is a common serenade across the Carolinas. At Bank of America Stadium, the fields and vast, beautiful landscapes require daily attention and plenty of water.
But water conservation is not sacrificed for beauty. In fact the Carolina Panthers have been honored as a 2010 Water Star Award winner by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities. The organization was recognized for its vision and commitment to water conservation and the protection of the region's drinking water supply.
Led by head groundskeeper Tom Vaughan and his staff, new, groundbreaking initiatives have been implemented at Bank of America Stadium to conserve water used for irrigation and the potential run-off from irrigation.
"Recently, we added a new smart irrigation system, which is a greener, environmentally based type system," Vaughan said. "It runs off of weather data - rain amounts, transpiration of water out of the air, how much humidity - all these different factors."
Vaughn said the daily water conservation is significant, because the system updates and adjusts based on daily weather conditions, resulting in a 20 to 30 percent savings on water use over time. Additionally, the new equipment reduces water run-off from the property by 50 percent, thus reducing harmful contaminants entering the storm drains.
The Panthers have a history of water conservation efforts in landscape and maintenance planning. The grounds-keeping staff has also worked closely with the City of Charlotte during times of stress on water resources to accommodate the greater needs of the community.