Specific Club Efforts Include LEED Platinum Certification, Solar Panel Installations at Ballparks, Earth Day Activations and More
Submitted by Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs are supporting sustainability efforts throughout 2019, including ‘GREEN TEAMS’ and environmentally-focused activations during MLB All-Star Week in Cleveland & the World Series in October, MLB-led partnerships with key groups that specialize in this area, and significant efforts led by MLB Clubs in their communities and at ballparks.
‘GREEN TEAMS’ & Sustainable Activations During 2019 All-Star Week
Major League Baseball will continue to support sustainable efforts in connection with the Midsummer Classic in Cleveland, Ohio, this coming July. During All-Star Week (Thursday, July 4th-Tuesday, July 9th), MLB will partner with local universities to activate ‘GREEN TEAMS,’ a group of students that encourages environmental awareness during MLB All-Star events, including all ballpark events (e.g., MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, T-Mobile Home Run Derby and the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game). ‘GREEN TEAM’ efforts include educational aspects surrounding sustainability for the students, collecting recyclables at ballpark and community events, and raising awareness among fans on positive environmental practices. ‘GREEN TEAM’ members will also participate in a special All-Star environmental volunteer event. A version of the ‘GREEN TEAM’ will be implemented throughout the 2019 World Series in October. In 2018, the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington, D.C. became the first U.S. professional league event to be certified as environmentally responsible by the Council of Responsible Sport. MLB expects to once again accomplish the feat with the 2019 Midsummer Classic.
MLB will also seek to offset the environmental footprint of player travel to and from Cleveland, as well the energy and water used at Progressive Field, by purchasing renewable energy credits and water restoration credits in conjunction with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the “Change the Course” program.
Special Educational Partnerships
Discovery Education: MLB has recently partnered with Discovery Education, the leading providers of standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms, to launch baseball and sustainability-focused content in schools throughout the United States. The official program, which will debut in May, will feature educational video vignettes in which representatives from several Clubs will discuss how their ballparks are environmentally conscious while highlighting effective sustainability practices. These videos will be featured in classrooms across the United States through the Discovery Education platform.
FOX SPORTS University: In an ongoing partnership with FOX Sports University, MLB and FOX has collaborated with the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University to provide educational opportunities around sustainability and public relations. Student groups with the best presentations around sustainability and environmental awareness will be MLB guests during 2019 MLB All-Star Week in Cleveland to contribute to sustainability efforts, including being a part of the All-Star GREEN TEAM.
MLB Front Office Volunteer Events
In advance of Earth Day, front office employees at MLB and MLB Network and family members volunteered at Claremont Park in the Bronx, N.Y. on Saturday, April 13th. Additionally, the MLB office in Boulder, Colo., will also hold a volunteer event for its employees at Boulder High School on Wednesday, April 24th, joined by the high school baseball team. Through both efforts, volunteers are tasked with revitalization activities, including landscaping, general cleanup, painting, and more. Scotts, the official lawn care company of Major League Baseball, donated product to support the efforts.
Major League Baseball was the first U.S. professional sports league to have all of Clubs as members of the Green Sports Alliance, which promotes healthy, sustainable communities in sports. In fact, MLB Clubs diverted more than 20,000 tons of recycled or composted waste during the 2018 season. Additionally, each year, MLB awards the eco-friendliest club with its ‘Green Glove Award,’ with the San Francisco Giants taking the award in 2018.
Following are some of the areas in which MLB Clubs devoted its sustainability practices throughout their ballparks and within their communities:
*The full list of Club Examples of Sustainability activations is attached*
“Thanks to the support and year-round commitment by our Clubs, Baseball is a sustainability leader in the U.S. professional sports industry,” said Paul Hanlon, Senior Director of Ballpark Operations & Sustainability, Major League Baseball. “Environmental responsibility is not only a business imperative for our sport, it is also passion for those who operate our ballparks. We look forward to further demonstrating our league-wide commitment in this space to our fans for years to come.”
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CONTACT: Kerline Batista, Major League Baseball, (212) 931-7899, firstname.lastname@example.org
Examples of MLB Club Sustainability Practices
MLB Clubs emphasize sustainability efforts through waste diversion, composting, and energy efficient practices throughout the season. These programs include comprehensive LED field lighting installations, recycling efforts, on-site gardens, conscious usage of water and electricity and more. Following are examples of practices by MLB Clubs:
Special Earth Day Activations
General Sustainability & Key Appointments
The Arizona Diamondbacks installed state-of-the-art synthetic grass at Chase Field in partnership with Shaw Sports Turf for the 2019 season. The high-performance B1K™ surface is designed specifically for baseball and features a Geofill infill that is made from natural materials that are environmentally friendly. In addition to conserving cooling energy by keeping the Chase Field roof closed during the daytime, the new playing surface is expected to provide 90% savings – nearly 2 million gallons – in water consumption each season by requiring less water than natural grass.
Earlier this April, the New York Yankees became the first major North American sports team to join the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, the aim of which is to reduce greenhouse emissions and inspire others to take ambitious climate action. The Framework invites sports organizations to play a leading role by committing to measure, reduce and offset their emissions and use sport as a unifying force to drive climate awareness and action. For more information regarding this initiative, please click here. To date, the team has demonstrated leadership in energy efficiency, including the measurement, reduction and offsetting of greenhouse gas impacts with the distribution of thousands of life-saving high-efficiency cookstoves in Africa. Additionally, Yankee Stadium is proud to promote a zero-waste economy and stands as one of the most successful recycling and composting venues in all of sports. At present, approximately 85 percent of waste is diverted away from landfills by an active commitment to composting and recycling. To deepen their existing dedication to environmentally-friendly practices and community-wide awareness, the Yankees in January appointed recognized industry leader Dr. Allen Hershkowitz to the new role of environmental science advisor, the first position of its kind in professional sports.
New for 2019, Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins, features a “living wall” batter’s eye – the first of its kind in Major League Baseball – that incorporates approximately 5,700 sea green juniper plants, individually installed and secured in a tiered, multiple-tray system. Together, the junipers create a consistent, stationary background of lush greenery, providing both beauty and a world-class hitter’s backdrop. The structure also enhances Target Field’s award-winning sustainability platform, as it will be self-irrigated via Pentair’s rain water system.
The Oakland Athletics and Arizona State University collaborated on a unique sustainability partnership during 2019 Spring Training presented by Camping World. Hohokam Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Athletics, was the focus site of the “Recycle Rally” initiative that tested and implemented zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks. As part of the initiative, a group of 21 ASU students analyzed the waste stream and operations at the ballpark to help the venue become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. ASU then discussed with the A’s how they can minimize and most effectively manage waste, including incorporating effective waste diversion practices at the ballpark through recycling, reusing, and composting.
Six Major League ballparks – Marlins Park (Miami Marlins), Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), Oracle Park (San Francisco Giants), Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves) and Target Field (Minnesota Twins) – are LEED-certified in various aspects of their operation. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are given to buildings that meet strict guidelines for environmental responsibility by using less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Nationals Park was the first major professional sports venue to become LEED certified. Being built on a brownfield, the ballpark site was enrolled in the Voluntary Cleanup Program and therefore provides an opportunity to leave the roughly 25-acre site a much better environment than when it was received. It was built using 95% recycled steel and 35% regionally-sourced construction materials.
Oracle Park was recently certified as LEED Platinum for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance. The first professional sports venue in America to earn Platinum, one of the most challenging category certifications to achieve under the rating system, in the areas of sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; innovation in design; and location and transportation.
Target Field was the first ballpark to receive LEED Gold status for Operations and Maintenance in 2017, and has completed a successful renewal process to continue Gold status into 2019.
At the start of the 2019 season, 18 MLB Clubs (Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers) have installed LED Field Lighting at their ballparks. In addition to enhancing the fan experience, LED fixtures are more efficient and have a lifespan of thirty years. SunTrust Park was the first ballpark to install LED field lighting as part of construction, saving 45% energy in comparison to standard field lighting.
In 2018, the San Francisco Giants led the league in recycling practices, with 94% of waste at Oracle Park being diverted from landfills. They were awarded the 2018 “Green Glove Award” by MLB.
Starting this season, all disposable foodservice ware (plates, cups, cutlery, straws, trays, etc.) distributed within Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, are certified compostable in a composting facility. Special compost bins will be placed throughout the ballpark for fans to use, while existing trash cans and recycling bins will remain in place. All other concession giveaways either will be recyclable (soft drink bottles, beer cans, etc.) or sold as reusable souvenirs.
New this season, the Atlanta Braves have implemented glass and organics recycling initiatives at SunTrust Park. The pilot program for organics recycling includes filtering and recycling of fryer oil as well as composting kitchen scraps from the 365-day a year restaurants in the ballpark. The new glass and organics recycling initiatives will divert an estimated 44 tons of waste from landfills. In total, the Braves’ goal is to increase waste diversion by 25%, from 269 tons diverted in 2018 to more than 336 tons during the 2019 season.
Over the past two seasons, the Boston Red Sox have conducted six waste sorts, recovering and diverted a total of 21,963 pounds of recyclables from landfills. The club also diverted 673,920 pounds of composting from landfills during the 2018 season.
The Chicago Cubs have recycled enough to save 4,886 trees. The Cubs also transport construction debris, which are often harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the job site, to recycling centers and use recycled materials wherever possible.
Similarly, the Colorado Rockies have recycled enough each year to save 2,830 35ft trees, spare 400 cubic yards of plastic landfill space and recycle enough fryer oil to run the average car 1,260 miles.
The Houston Astros installed new recycling bins in their concourses made of recycled plastic and are have incorporated biodegradable products across all concessions, such as trays, plates, cups and utensils.
Through aggressive recycling and waste-to-energy programs, the Minnesota Twins have kept more than 10,870 tons of waste out of local landfills over the last seven years. Since 2017, the Twins have partnered with Eco-Products – the nation’s leading brand of single-use foodservice packaging made from renewable and recycled resources – to supply Target Field’s compostable cups, plates, trays, utensils and straws. Much of the packaging relies on a material called Ingeo™, a compostable resin made by a company called NatureWorks headquartered a short distance from Target Field in Minnetonka, Minn.
The Pittsburgh Pirates sustainability practices successfully diverted more than 70% of the ballpark waste out of the waste stream, equivalent to more than 1,650 tons of materials.
Local Community Outreach
Through Home Runs for Trees, a partnership with PGW and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, a tree is planted for each home run hit by a Philadelphia Phillies player. To date, 1,074 trees have been planted in the Delaware Valley through the program since 2012.
Also, prepared food that has not been eaten from kitchens at most MLB ballparks is regularly donated to local organizations for those in need.
Water & Electricity
Atlanta Braves’ field water is captured via a reclamation system and is repurposed for the field irrigation needs, creating a 50% savings.
The Arizona Diamondbacks switched from natural grass to synthetic grass, which is expected to save a significant amount of water dire to Arizona’s arid climate.
Through a custom-designed Rain Water Recycle System provided by Minneapolis-based Pentair, the Minnesota Twins have captured, purified and reused more than 19 million total gallons of rainwater, drastically reducing the use of municipal water at Target Field. The majority of the recycled rainwater is used to wash down the seating bowl attached to the main concourse.
Ten MLB Clubs (Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals) utilize solar power at their ballparks.
Additionally, the Phillies and the Red Sox will purchase millions of kilowatt-hours of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match 100% of electricity usage with wind or solar generation. For the 12th straight calendar year, the Phillies purchased over 20 million kilowatt-hours of Renewable Energy Certificates. The Cardinals have increased their commitment to Green Power, by purchasing 6,000 RECs, which will cover all game-day usage for the entire season. Similarly, the Indians purchased 100% Green e-certified wind energy from FirstEnergy over the last year at Progressive Field. The Cubs are also pursuing renewable energy credits in obtaining electrical services. Cleveland is adding a new solar array to Progressive Field on the roof behind home plate.
The Padres recently installed the largest solar array in Major League Baseball. The impressive solar array is comprised of 716, 470-watt solar panels which will generate 330 kilowatts of solar power, enough to power the entire Padres front office. The system will also produce over 12 million kilowatt hours over the next 25 years. Along with LED sports lights, the Padres have also converted 95% of the ballpark lighting to LED. This includes all the front office, concourses, service level, concessions, restaurants, entry gates, and landscape lighting, and support areas.
In 2019, the Nationals and WGL Energy Systems teamed up to install 4,080 solar panels above the GEICO Garage and Garage C, with SGC Power serving as project developer. The solar canopies will supply power to the ballpark and provide covered parking for fans. The new solar panels are anticipated to produce approximately 1,890 megawatt hours of electricity each year, enough to power the equivalent of more than 182 homes and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking approximately 285 vehicles off the road annually.
The Chicago Cubs are installing energy-efficient hot water systems with energy management controls, as well as energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems for suites, the player clubhouse and other club spaces
Elimination of Straws
The Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers have joined the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees in permanently eliminating single-use plastic straws from their respective ballparks.
12 Major League ballparks, including Oracle Park (San Francisco Giants), Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals), Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks), Citi Field (New York Mets), Coors Field (Colorado Rockies), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), Oakland Athletics (Oakland Coliseum) Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates), Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) and T-Mobile Park (Seattle Mariners), currently operate their own gardens. The gardens at Oracle Park, Busch Stadium, Fenway Park, Coors Field, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Progressive Field and T-Mobile Park are all utilized to source food for concession stands and restaurants at the ballpark. In addition to providing food for the stadium, the gardens also serve as a teaching tool to inform the public about the importance of their local environment and as fan-gathering spots throughout a game.
Last season, the Pirates Rivendale Patio Garden at PNC Park produced more than 300 pounds of fresh produce that was utilized within recipes for menu options available in PNC Park premium seating areas.
After a fruitful beginning in 2016, the Nationals are expanding the rooftop garden at Nationals Park, which will now yield crops for three growing cycles, in an ongoing effort to 'Go Green' and encourage a sustainable ballpark.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the U.S. and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball. Major League Baseball is the best-attended sport in North America, and since 2004, MLB has enjoyed its best-attended seasons in the history of the game. Led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., MLB currently features record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, as well as the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports. MLB remains committed to making an impact in the communities of the U.S., Canada and throughout the world, perpetuating the sport’s larger role in society and permeating every facet of baseball’s business, marketing and community relations endeavors. With the continued success of MLB Network and MLB digital platforms, MLB continues to find innovative ways for its fans to enjoy America’s National Pastime and a truly global game. For more information on Major League Baseball, visit www.MLB.com.
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