Let’s Play (Greener) Ball!
The dirt is raked. The grass is mowed. The lines are chalked. And the high-efficiency field lights are ready for action.
Yes, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is almost here. And as this joyous day arrives across the country, more stadiums than ever before are integrating energy efficiency and renewable energy into their playbooks.
Last week, a number of professional teams in the northwest United States launched the Green Sports Alliance (GSA). Members of the GSA, which include the Seattle Mariners and Portland Trailblazers, will work with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the EPA, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Portland State University to identify and adopt environmental initiatives to measure and reduce their impact on the environment.
Moving forward, the GSA will encourage all sports franchises – and their venues – to measure their environmental impacts and seek ways to reduce them.
In the Twin Cities, two newly built stadiums have already gone to great lengths to reduce each building’s energy profile. The Minnesota Twin’s Target Field and University of Minnesota’s TCF Stadium have achieved significant energy savings.
The Minnesota Twins went to great lengths to build a highly efficient ballpark. In fact, Target Field was awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, only the second LEED-certified professional baseball stadium in the United States. TCF Field, which also achieved LEED Silver certification, was the first ever college or professional stadium to achieve such an honor.
The Twins and their design partners teamed up with Xcel Energy’s Energy Design Assistance program to identify and select a “designed-in” energy conservation potential for new ballparks. This unique program offers our energy expertise to encourage energy efficiency in building design and construction practices.
With the help of Xcel Energy, the team investigated more than 100 energy efficiency alternatives related to the building envelope (windows), lighting and mechanical systems, in order to reduce the building’s energy profile.
At Target Field, they incorporated a variety of unique energy and natural resource saving measures, such as high-efficiency field lighting (which also saves nearly $6,000 a year), capturing (and re-using) “wasted” heat from a nearby waste-to-energy facility, and low-flow urinals, dual-flush toilets and aerated faucets, which will save an estimated 4.2 million gallons of water annually.
Hopefully this trend will continue to catch on, as many new stadiums are in the process of being built. For now, I’m just excited for the new green season to begin!
Article by Tim Laughlin, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.
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