WASHINGTON - The Washington Nationals started the 2008 Major League Baseball season in a new green stadium. Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced that the ballpark received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first major stadium in the United States to achieve LEED certification.

The new ballpark’s green features include:

• Planting a 6,300-square-foot green roof above a concession/toilet area beyond left field to collect rain water and minimize roof heat gain.

• Installing water conserving plumbing fixtures, which will save 3.6 million gallons of water per year and reduce overall water consumption by 30 percent.

• Using air-cooled chillers instead of water-cooled chillers to save another 6 million gallons of water per year.

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.

Renewable energy was implemented at several ballparks last year, with three clubs installing new solar power systems. The Colorado Rockies started the season with a 9.9-kilowatt solar power system at Coors Field. The system employs SunPower Corp.’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 install a 122-kilowatt system at AT&T Park.

Publication date:04/07/2008