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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Great American Ballpark a model "green" facility

Well, the Reds on the field haven't been much fun of late.

Fortunately, there's an excellent article by Will Weiss at Baseball Prospectus (subscription) about everything the Reds are doing to reduce the ecological footprint of their operations at Great American Ballpark. The timing of the article is good--we fans need something to feel good about. Kudos to Declan Mullin and the rest of the Reds' operation for making this happen. The only thing they need to do more of now is advertise their efforts a little better. I know Cincinnati is a conservative town, but sustaining life (including ours) on this planet isn't (or shouldn't be) a partisan issue, as this group helps demonstrate.

Some highlights:
  • GABP has a variety of energy-efficient technologies in place, which reduce energy consumption by about 29% compared to comparable ballparks without these systems.
  • The Reds are working with Duke Energy to purchase Ohio-generated "green energy." Though it is more expensive, the Reds hope that purchasing local green energy will facilitate development of more expansive and efficient systems in the area, eventually reducing cost.
  • At select home games, the Reds have purchased carbon offsets to negate their carbon emissions. Thus far, they've done it on Opening day and Earth day this season, with more dates planned.
  • All paper trash in the Reds offices is recycled, and all napkins and paper products sold in concessions are from recycled materials.
There are more things that the Reds could do, particularly in terms of water management, and I hope they continue to push forward with their green initiatives. But they should be applauded for their efforts to date, as they're among the few professional sports organizations (along with the Philadelphia Eagles, among others) who have really focused on this important issue.

Some things that we can do to help out the next time we visit the park:
  • Take advantage of the Park and Ride system made available via Cincinnati Metro. This may ultimately save you money, time, and stress.
    • As an aside, the past few months, I've started taking the bus most days on my commutes here in Phoenix. I'm finding it to be a great alternative. It saves money, helps me avoid the stress of dealing with Phoenix traffic, and I feel better about myself knowing that I'm not burning as much gas as I drive to and from the office. Plus, I can get some reading done and listen to ballgames on my xm radio.
  • Make sure that you only throw recyclable materials into the recycle bins at GABP. Non-recyclable trash, like food-soiled cardboard, not only cannot be recycled, but can contaminate other materials in the bin, thus preventing any of it from being recycled.