Thursday, June 4, 2009

Field of Green

Over Memorial Day weekend, we took a trip to U.S. Cellular Field and enjoyed a beautiful day at the ballpark (though the outcome wasn't what we were hoping for; Pirates 4, Sox 3). In any event, we made sure to take our plastic cups and paper hot dog containers home with us to recycle.

That got me to thinking about the Cell's recycling services and, after some investigation, I discovered we really didn't need to carry these items home; turns out there's plenty of green things going on at New Comiskey besides the forest-colored seats and groundskeeper Roger Bossert's well-manicured bluegrass. In fact, the park leads the way with:

Recycling: In addition to bins placed throughout the park, trash gathered by the clean-up crew is sorted for paper and plastic. According to White Sox management, the Cell has recycled over 570 tons of material since 1992.

Conservation: Computers regulate lighting inside the park, conserving energy.

Transportation: The CTA Red Line stop (located just across the expressway) houses a few dozen secure, weather-protected parking spaces for bikes; should those spaces fill up, several more on-street racks are located on the north side of 35th St. What's more, Sox staff maintain their own fleet of bicycles to travel in and around the stadium quickly.
Raising Awareness: The Cell turns off the lights as part of Earth Hour, and also celebrates Earth Day with educational events like "Earth Day at the Ballpark."

Parking: One of the most innovative green technologies is right under your feet! Just last year, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (which owns Cellular Field) installed what's believed to be the largest "permeable paving" parking lot in the U.S. Spanning 265,000 square feet—the equivalent of more than four football fields—in Lot L, the durable concrete paver stones allow surface water to filter back into the earth, reducing runoff. The system meets LEED guidelines set by the U.S. Green Building Council and is recognized as a Best Management Practice by the EPA. According to my sources, the Cell is the first park in the Major Leagues to incorporate the technology.

How's that for an environmental home run? Granted, there will always be some CO2-burn going on at every game, but for a team that attracts millions of visitors each season, they're still doing their part, and doing it well, all things considered. Go Sox!

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