Green Travel for Baseball Fans

Green travel is not something we often associate with sports. But the two can definitely go hand-in-hand:  stadiums can employ green practices such as installing green energy technologies and using compostable and recyclable materials, to be rated as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) certified.  This basically gives them recognition as a green building and makes them an alternative destination for green travel. If you're a baseball fan who loves travel and going green, there are a number of LEED certified stadiums around the country you can visit.  Here are five of our favorites.

Marlins Park Miami

It was four years in the making, so the Marlins' announcement in May 2012 that their park had achieved LEED Gold Certification was a big deal.  It became the world's first retractable roof facility to have that recognition.  When you visit, you might notice one of the more fun ways the stadium went green: the floor throughout areas of the stadium is made of a synthetic comprised of recycled Nike shoes. You can also take a look at the amazing retractable roof.  Not only is it capable of moving 3 panels totaling 19 million pounds at 39 feet per minute, but the opening and closing is done in an energy efficient manner. It only costs $10 or less in electricity to open and close the roof.  Now that's a modern marvel!

Soldier Field Chicago

Completed in 1924, the Grand Park Municipal Stadium was renamed Soldier Field one year later.  It maybe be old, but rest assured this famous landmark is as sturdy as ever.  The underpinnings of the stadium consist of 10,000 giant wood piling foundations driven an average of SIX stories down to the bedrock. Today the stadium is leading the way as the first LEED-EB certified NFL stadium in the U.S.  During your visit you might notice the venue's extensive recycling programs, in which patrons are strongly encouraged to participate.  If you drive there in an electric vehicle, you can take advantage of one of the free charging stations in the North Parking Garage.  There is one recycling program that hopefully you won't see firsthand however: they recycle all lost eyeglasses and cell phones.

Target Field Minneapolis

In April 2010, Target Field became the second Major League ballpark to achieve the status of LEED Silver Certification.  At the time it was the greenest ballpark in America. Due to its setting in the historic Warehouse District, the soil the ballpark rests on was once contaminated but has been treated and replaced.  As at other LEED certified stadiums, during your visit you will be encouraged to participate in game day recycling.  Getting there will be a snap, as the stadium has a variety of public transportation options (including bike, bus and even rail routes).

AT&T Park San Francisco

In April of 2010, the San Francisco Giants announced they received the LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance (EBO&M). They were the first major league ballpark to receive the honor.  As a visitor, you'll be doing your part contributing to a greener stadium by recycling, and arriving by bike, train, ferry, bus or on foot.  Fortunately, as one o the most transit friendly ballparks in the U.S., it's easy to do your part.  And even when you're doing something like simply buying garlic fries, you'll be able to take part in the stadium's green initiatives by making your purchase from a sustainable concession stand.

Miller Park, Milwaukee

If you visited the stadium before its LEED certification, you may notice dozens more recycling containers in the parking lot and the facility. If you happen to smoke, you'll have to do so in smoking areas at least 25 feet from intakes, operable doors and windows, as this preserves the indoor air quality required for LEED certification.  And the Hi-Def scoreboard on which you'll be watching the score consumes almost 50% less energy than its predecessor. Which one will you visit first? If you'd like to learn more about green stadiums and get more ideas about stadiums to visit, take a look at this cool infographic about green stadiums from the sponsors of this post Texas Electricity Providers.  Happy travels!