Baseball is both a summertime staple, and the national pastime. Here in Washington DC, the Nationals Park is leading the way in green operations. Where better than the Nation’s capital to appreciate the United States’ first major stadium accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) structure. In fact, it exceeded green certifications and was awarded the Green Building Council’s silver status, according to the Nationals website. How does a building follow LEED specifications? At the Nationals stadium that means a minimum of 10% of the building is recycled materials, much of the materials were also locally supplied, green roofing that deflects heat, and an intricate ground and storm water filtration system that takes in to account the close proximity to the Anacostia river. Besides just the building construction, the stadium also institutes drought resistant landscaping, water conserving plumbing help reduce water consumption by 30% (that’s 3.6 million gallons a year) and energy conserving light fixtures that save 21% of energy costs and help reduce light pollution. It is conveniently located by a metro stop, and it is quite an experience loading on to the subway with your fellow baseball fans dressed in their Nationals garb. On game days you don’t even need to know which exits to get off, just follow all the fans! The area where the stadium has been built will boost economic growth, and create a positive influence in an area of DC otherwise known for quite the opposite.
Statistics are one thing, but visiting the park is quite another. Ron and I frequent games there (via Metro, of course) and the park is beautiful. Talk to someone who has been to the park, and no matter who they are cheering for, ask them what they think about the stadium. Even when you leave your seats (to go get some yummy vegetarian chili at the Hard Times Cafe, a local business who has an in-park location) you can still see the field from almost anywhere you stand. Don’t think that because this baseball stadium has these green features that it in any way changes that classic feel of a baseball park: it does not. For the average baseball patron who didn’t know the facts, Nationals stadium is everything that makes a ballpark a ballpark: beer, hot dogs, fans, and of course, a great game. Even if your beloved team wins or loses, the environment wins every single game. Play ball!
Visit the Nationals PDF of the green features here http://nationals.mlb.com/was/downloads/was_green_ballpark.pdf