Washington Nationals Open Season in First Eco-Friendly U.S. Pro Stadium

The Washington Nationals played their first game of the season Sunday night, making headlines with their dramatic victory over the Braves. The season opener was also a showcase for the Nationals’ brand new stadium, which has caused city residents major headaches with its $600 million price tag but is the first environmentally-friendly pro stadium in the United States.

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The stadium earned a “silver” rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED system, a widely accepted set of construction standards for energy conservation and other environmental concerns. The LEED system graded Nationals Park in such areas as water use reduction, light pollution minimization, use of recycled content, and energy optimization and renewability. The stadium met the certification’s standards with measures such as using air rather than water to cool concessions, cleaning up and building on a polluted brownfield site, and using energy-efficient lights and toilets.

Nationals Park may indicate that environmental consciousness is gaining importance in building projects, and Fortune’s Marc Gunther believes that this is just one sign that Major League Baseball as a whole is going green. Pro sporting events still have a huge energy cost, especially considering the pollution and fuel consumption needed to transport spectators to the games, but a more energy-efficient stadium is certainly better.

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