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'Green is growing' with All-Star Game initiatives

'Green is growing' with All-Star Game initiatives

'Green is growing' with All-Star Game initiatives
The 82nd All-Star Game Tuesday in Phoenix will have a major impact, with the winning league securing the same World Series home-field advantage that the Giants enjoyed last fall.

And now, there is the impact on the environment.

MLB has partnered again with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to help ensure that the approaching 2011 All-Star Week incorporates environmentally intelligent features. It marks the fourth year in a row that the two entities have worked together to implement measures, both inside the stadium and with supporting events. It was not exactly priority-one during planning of most Midsummer Classics since the first in 1933, but green has grown.

"These 2011 All-Star events clearly reflect MLB's ongoing commitment to environmental excellence," said Darby Hoover, Senior Resource Specialist for the NRDC in San Francisco. "Building on previous initiatives, for the first time, this All-Star Week will feature a comprehensive composting program, projected to increase landfill diversion by over 60 percent. The Arizona Diamondbacks have also contributed an impressive array of environmental achievements, such as LEED Gold certification of their new Spring Training facility, and recent installation of a solar shade structure at Chase Field.

"NRDC is proud to collaborate with MLB on its environmental initiatives, and applauds the steps taken by the league and the Diamondbacks to educate fans and help promote a healthy environment."

At Chase Field, in-stadium messaging will promote ways fans can be more environmentally conscious. To encourage fans to recycle, "All-Star Green Teams" presented by Pepsi will circulate throughout the stadium during all ballpark events to collect recyclables from fans. In addition, 100 new recycling bins will be installed at the ballpark for All-Star Week, and will remain there.

Food waste and food-soiled paper from the stadium will be turned into compost, which can be used as fertilizer for soil and promote plant growth to help increase land and air quality. This is the first time a composting program has been implemented at an MLB All-Star Week, and it is estimated that 66 tons of material will be diverted from the landfill through recycling and composting efforts.

To help reduce All-Star Week's environmental footprint, all of the major events at Chase Field -- as well as FanFest at the LEED Silver Certified Phoenix Convention Center -- will be offset with "Green-e Certified" renewable energy. FanFest volunteers are also receiving complimentary METRO light rail passes to encourage the use of public transportation.

MLB prioritized environmental attributes when selecting materials ranging from tickets and programs to building supplies at various community refurbishment projects. MLB and the D-backs will rehabilitate the facilities of the Arizona State Veteran Home with the support of Bank of America. One element of the project includes constructing a new greenhouse on site to be used by the facility's culinary staff, and horticultural clubs will demonstrate and teach about sustainable food practices. With the assistance of Magical Builders, MLB and the D-backs will incorporate eco-friendly elements in the renovation of a Phoenix Boys & Girls club -- including solar hot water heaters and low flow plumbing fixtures.

The red carpet used in the All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet is manufactured with 100 percent post-industrial recycled nylon yarn. Chevrolet will provide E-85 capable vehicles for the parade.

In addition to the initiatives by MLB, the D-backs make a commitment throughout the season to using their resources in a responsible and sustainable manner through their "D-backs Playing for the Planet" initiative.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies, will be host to the Jr. RBI Classic and MasterCard presents the MLB All-Star Fantasy Camp during All-Star Week. The facility opened in February, and recently received LEED Gold Certification for new construction, and is the first LEED Gold-certified sports venue of its kind in the U.S. Sustainable project elements include sitting the stadium to provide maximum shade, using native vegetation, minimizing stormwater runoff, maximizing the amount of fresh air brought in through its HVAC systems, and using grass-covered parking lots rather than asphalt -- doubling as playing fields for the community when not in use.

Chase Field has implemented many energy-efficient initiatives, and a well-developed recycling program has been in place for several years. Recent renovations have included replacing less-efficient electronic components with new Energy Star certified products and LED equipment. Earlier this season, the D-backs built a solar shade structure that covers more than 17,000 square feet of the Chase Field plaza. The structure provides shade over the ballpark's heaviest-used entrances while generating solar power.

During the last offseason, the ballpark roof was recoated with an Energy Star certified material that improves the ballpark roof's reflectivity rating and thermal emittance rating, and reduces the heat island effect of downtown Phoenix.

In each of the past three seasons, the team has held a home series to promote energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Throughout the series, fans are provided with suggestions on increasing energy efficiency and other tips for more sustainable living. In addition, the D-backs purchase "Green-e Certified" energy for the entire series -- featuring a mixture of wind, solar and other renewable resources.

Additional environmentally better practices implemented by the D-backs throughout their operations include:

Communications: Media guides are available electronically; "D-backs Insider" magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled content paper; most marketing collateral printed on FSC certified products.

Human Resources: Employees are encouraged to commute using alternative transportation; reusable beverage containers are provided to employees for use in the office; game day event staff shirts are each made from 16 recycled bottles.

Concessions: Grease is recycled into biodiesel fuel; vendors distribute bio-based and compostable food service items; reusable "loyalty cup" available to season ticket holders.

Operations: Recycling containers have been placed throughout the concourse, administrative office and press box; LED equipment has been installed throughout ballpark including the scoreboard display; waterless urinals and water-saving faucets installed on the Suite Level.

The City of Phoenix has collaborated on an innovative cooling system at the Third Street/Washington METRO light rail station. Chilled water used in the downtown cooling system is pumped to coils located in the upper section of the light rail station where solar-powered fans blow air over the coils to distribute cold air. Launched for All-Star Week, the system will operate May through September annually.

MLB began an alliance with the NRDC in 2006 to identify and promote better environmental practices. Since 2008, MLB has incorporated environmentally intelligent features in All-Star Week activities as well as the World Series. This relationship also led to the creation of the Team Greening Program featuring NRDC Team Greening Advisors for Major League Baseball, web-based software tools tailored to each MLB club featuring advice and resources for every aspect of a club's operations.

That unprecedented program took more than two years to develop and offers specific local advice concerning such topics as energy use, purchasing, concession operations, water use, recycling and transportation. In 2010, MLB developed software to collect and analyze stadium operations data - the first time a professional sports league has implemented a software program throughout its league to collect data for the purpose of documenting environmental practices and for sharing information about environmental best practices at stadiums.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. You also can leave comments on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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