Washington Nationals Start the Baseball Season in a New Green Park
April 2, 2008
The Washington Nationals officially started the 2008 Major League Baseball season on the night of March 30, with President Bush throwing the first pitch in a new, "green" stadium. Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced on March 28 that the ballpark received LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first major stadium in the United States to achieve LEED Certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a widely recognized standard for green buildings, and LEED Silver is the third-highest rating available under the LEED rating system. The energy-saving features in the new ballpark include high-efficiency field lighting, which uses 21% less energy than typical field lighting, as well as a 6,300-square-foot green roof above one of the concession areas. See the mayor's press release.
Such efforts may gain ground in the future, as Major League Baseball has just teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to launch the "Team Greening Program." The program will provide each team with an individualized Web-based software tool, which will offer specific advice and resources regarding such topics as energy use, purchasing, concession operations, water use, recycling, and transportation. The tool includes advice on how each club can increase its use of renewable energy. See the NRDC press release.
Renewable energy was a hit at ballparks last year, with several clubs installing new solar power systems. The Colorado Rockies took an early lead, starting the season with a 9.9-kilowatt solar power system at Coors Field. The system employs SunPower Corporation's solar panels and was installed through a partnership between the Rockies and Xcel Energy. By June, the Cleveland Indians and the San Francisco Giants were also in the solar ballgame. With the help of Green Energy Ohio, the Indians installed an 8.4-kilowatt system at Progressive Field, while Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) helped the Giants beat the competition with a 122-kilowatt system at AT&T Park. (This is surely the only place where you'll read that the Giants beat the Rockies and the Indians last year!) See the SunPower press release, the Green Energy Ohio Web site, and the PG&E press release.