Major League Sports Teams Make Big Plays for Clean Energy

cardinals solar

The St. Louis Cardinals' Busch Stadium was just added to the list of solar powered professional baseball stadiums.

Major sports stadiums are great venues for capturing the sun’s energy using solar panels and more and more sports teams are taking full advantage.  In addition, some sports leagues are proving to be good resources for promoting renewable energy by getting involved in community projects. Recently, Major League Soccer, the National Football League, and Major League Baseball have all made winning plays for clean energy.

Major League Soccer (MLS) made a commitment that, as part of its community outreach initiative (called MLS W.O.R.K.S.), they would install solar panels at a local school in the MLS Cup champion’s city.  In keeping with their word and since the LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup, KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School has had a 2.1 kilowatt solar array recently installed and unveiled.  It’s expected that the school’s new solar panels will produce 3,034 kWh of clean energy annually.

The next solar project sponsored by MLS W.O.R.K.S. is already underway.  They’ve partnered with Continental Tire to commit to building another solar array and education program worth $50,000 for the greenest MLS team fans.  Fans are being asked to visit the Greener Goals website and begin now to share the ways they are “going green” in their everyday lives.  A solar panel installation will be awarded to the greenest MLS fans on Earth Day 2013.  On top of that, one fan will be selected to win a grand prize which includes a trip to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game as well as a set of EcoPlus technology tires from Continental Tire.

Toward the end of the 2011 National Football League (NFL) season, two teams unveiled their clean energy projects.  The Washington Redskins installed 8,000 solar panels at FedEx Field.  The Seattle Seahawks revealed a new solar array on the roof of CenturyLink Field, which has a total of 3,750 solar panels.

eagles stadium

The Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field plans to become completely energy self-sufficient.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field has announced plans for the most ambitious NFL clean energy project.  Their goal is to be energy self-sufficient using renewable energy. Unfortunately, the project is running behind and won’t be completed at the start of the coming football season, as hoped.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has outshone the other sports in regards to environmental friendliness.  They have recently been ranked highest among the major sports leagues in America in a survey of environmental data disclosure.  MLB teams make up almost half of the professional sports teams in the Green Sports Alliance.  And in 2010 all 30 MLB teams committed to an environmental data collection program which promises to ultimately reduce greenhouse gases.

The current baseball season has included the reveal of several new and very impressive clean energy projects at ballparks across America.

LEED certification

A new trend has begun for major league sports teams to play in LEED Certified stadiums.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized mark of excellence and provides building owners and operators with ways to implement measurable green solutions in the areas of building design, construction, operations, and maintenance.  A LEED certification has recently been achieved by MLBs Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium, Milwaukee Miller Park.  The stadium has made significant efficiency improvements which prevent 1,153 metric tons of carbon emissions annually (with new electrical and HVAC systems), save 3 million gallons of water (with water fixture retrofits), and divert 35 percent of their waste (as a result of recycling).

Other MLB teams which have been LEED Silver-certified include the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, and Washington Nationals.

The Cleveland Indians were the first team to install solar power in their stadium, which occurred in 2007; and they’ve recently become the first team to install wind power in their ball stadium.

All of these moves toward energy independence among the various professional sports teams are fairly recent.  It’s exciting to think of the impact this trend will have in years to come.

Photo Credit: MicroGrid Energy, AcousticDiminsions


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