The spring season's gentle breezes, blooming flowers, and warm sunshine mark the beginning of fun outdoor activities—picnics, camping, hiking, and the classic American pastime—baseball. Today is opening day and fans everywhere around the country will be flooding ballparks to cheer on their favorite team. Many major league baseball teams have made great strides in making their home parks green over the last decades. Here are several examples of teams that are hitting a home run for clean energy:
Atlanta Braves' Truist Park – The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certified Truist Park, home to the 2021 World Series Champions the Atlanta Braves, incorporates a championship bounty of sustainable features including high-efficiency LED lighting, low flow fixtures which reduced potable water use by 42 percent, an HVAC system to minimize the emission of ozone harmful compounds, extensive use of locally-sourced materials throughout the ballpark, the MLB’s largest canopy for optimal shade and weather protection, access to public transportation within one-quarter mile of the stadium, and priority parking for electric and alternative fuel vehicles.
San Francisco Giants' Oracle Park - The San Francisco Giant's have called this stadium home since 2000. The park boasts several sustainable firsts for baseball including the first MLB ballpark to use solar energy back in 2007 and the first major league baseball park to become LEED certified for stadium upgrades. Oracle Park also diverts more waste from the landfill than any other professional league park including the NFL, NBA, and NHL.
Cleveland Guardians' Progressive Field – Progressive Field boasts a large upper deck solar panel array, the first American League team to do so (just after the Giants, as previously noted). The electricity produced from its 42 solar panels is enough to power 400 television sets throughout the ballpark. Since installation, the panels have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and decreased the energy consumption equivalent to powering 1,225 homes for one day. The ballpark continues to reduce its energy costs and carbon emissions with extensive use of LED lighting.
Florida Marlins' Loan Depot Park– Loan Depot Park was LEED Gold certified as the greenest MLB park in 2012. The facility is constructed from 60% locally sourced materials. The park's retractable roof uses a regenerative drive system which reduces power consumption–costing less that $10 to open and close the roof. It also features 250 waterless urinals. They use 52% less water than those in similar sports facilities. Overall, Loan Depot Park spends 22% less than comparable structures thanks to its efficient design in systems used for mechanical, electrical, lighting, heating, and cooling.
Seattle Mariners' Safeco Field – In 2007, the Mariners stepped up to the plate in reducing energy consumption by making operational adjustments to its stadium. By adjusting lighting controls, installing weatherstripping, upgrading controls on water heating, and expanding recycling, the team saved almost half a million dollars and cut natural gas and electricity usage by about 36 and 18 percent, respectively, from 2007 to 2009.
- Washington Nationals' Nationals Park - Nationals Park was the first major ballpark in the nation
accredited as a LEED Silver Certified structure by the U.S. Green Building Council for its energy-efficient lighting and air cooling, among other features. Its energy-saving lighting uses 21 percent less energy compared to typical field lighting. Its 6,300 square foot green roof, planted with about 1,200 drought-resistant sedums, minimizes the heat released to the environment.
- Minnesota Twins' Target Field - As
the second major league baseball park to attain LEED certification, Target Field uses energy efficient lighting that saves nearly $6,000 a year, low flow plumbing that reduces an estimated 4.2 million gallons of water, and an extensive recycling program throughout its park.
As major league baseball teams increasingly realize the economic and environmental benefits of greening up their stadiums, there also is a similar trend towards more sustainable buildings in other major sports. The Green Sports Alliance, a partner of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, is an organization whose mission is to help sports teams, venues, and leagues enhance their environmental performance.
Perhaps the best news of all is that we can adopt the same clean energy technologies that saved energy and money for those teams to our homes. If you visit a baseball stadium this season, look around to see what green initiatives are incorporated by the team in their home, and think about how you might apply the same technologies or practices in your home. You might be surprised how many fit the bill! Whether it’s switching to energy-efficient lighting choices, installing insulation and air sealing, or using energy-efficient water heating, we can all hit a home run for clean energy.
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