Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nationals Park Falling Behind in Green Rankings

I have to say ... The Green Miles was a little disappointed in this video. I mean, no one loves the Washington Nationals' green diamond more than me ... but this video could've been made the day the park opened four seasons ago. The Nats have seriously upgraded their team since 2008 - why not their green efforts as well?

When Nationals Park opened in 2008, it was the first U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified ballpark in Major League Baseball, achieving the "silver" standard. But since then, the Minnesota Twins have opened Target Field, also LEED silver-certified (and a much better place to watch a game, arguably the best in baseball). And the Pittsburgh Penguins opened a LEED gold-certified arena.

And all of those stadiums have been passed by a college facility. The University of Florida's Heavener Football Complex is LEED platinum-certified, the highest possible rating.

So how can the Nats get back on top?
  • Renewable energy. If the Boston Red Sox can put solar panels on Fenway Park, there's no reason why the Nats can't have some as well. Even the Washington Redskins, whose owner is no friend of the environment and who manage to screw up almost everything else, have installed a sizable solar array at FedEx Field.
  • Put the players out front. Nationals pitcher Collin Balester is part of Players for the Planet, speaking out on the need for recycling & climate action. Why not include him in these clips along with the front office staff?
  • Tear down the awful parking garages. Not only are they eyesores that block views of the Capitol, not only do they sit empty most of the time, but they encourage driving to a park that's next to one Metro stop and a 15 minute walk from several others. Imagine how much revenue the Nats could recapture from The Bullpen across the street by turning the garage space into an inviting area to eat, drink, shop and socialize. Yes, I know DC paid tens of millions of dollars to build the garages. But letting the mistake stand won't get that money back.
  • Stop selling ads on everything to polluters. It's not quite in the same league as Pittsburgh's "green" arena selling its naming rights to a polluting coal company. But the Exxon Mobil-sponsored left field wall billboard, Exxon Mobil-sponsored 7th inning stretch, Exxon Mobil-sponsored organic cotton hat, and Exxon Mobil-sponsored stadium replica really distract from the Nats' efforts to show they care about the environment & public health.
Finally, how's this for a headline: Nationals Sign Local Environmental Blogger as Left-Handed Reliever! Think about it, Mike Rizzo.
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