On Saturday, the Department of Energy declared that Sunday’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers would be “the greenest Super Bowl” in history. It turned out to be the darkest Super Bowl in history when the “energy efficient” New Orleans Superdome could not handle the electricity load generated by the half time spectacular and the entire stadium plunged into darkness for thirty-four minutes just a few plays into the second half.
The Department of Energy’s press release claimed that “eco-friendly fans and city leaders in New Orleans are competing to maximize sustainability practices to the fullest.” The New Orleans Host Committee would make the game “the greenest Super Bowl by “partner[ing] with fans and the community to offset energy use across the major Super Bowl venues.”
It noted that Department of Energy recommended energy efficient practices were in place throughout the Superdome:
“The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome features more than 26,000 LED lights on 96 full-color graphic display panels, designed to wash the building in a spectrum of animated colors, patterns and images. The system draws only 10 kilowatts of electricity — equivalent to the amount of energy used by a small home — and the lights are expected to last for many years before needing replacement. “
It also noted how energy efficient other parts of the city of New Orleans have become, thanks to the Department of Energy:
“New Orleans is embracing energy efficiency with help from the Energy Department. The city retrofitted four libraries using an integrative design approach — adding motion sensor lights, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and upgrades to the building envelopes. These improvements helped cut the libraries’ energy costs by 30 percent and serve as a standard for other city-owned buildings. New Orleans streets feature more than 1,200 energy-efficient light fixtures. In addition to saving the city money on energy costs — an estimated $70,000 annually — the new lights help the city reduce routine maintenance due to their longer lifespan.”
The outage had a significant impact on the game itself. Before the power went out, the game was a blowout, with the Ravens in the lead 28-6. After the 34-minute delay, the 49ers were rejuvenated, and outscored the Ravens 25-6. The comeback was too little, too late, though, and the Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl 34-31.