Mets' New Ballpark Covers the Green Bases
NEW YORK, New York, March 13, 2008 (ENS) - Recycled steel beams, concrete made from coal combustion ash, energy and water conservation, stormwater runoff controls - all will play a part in the construction and operation of Citi Field, the New York Mets' new ballpark in the borough of Queens.

The Queens Ballpark Company will build and operate the major league baseball team's new $800 million stadium using some of the latest green technologies and practices, said Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Alan Steinberg as they signed a memo of understanding for the new ballpark at a press conference today at Shea Stadium.

"In developing and constructing Citi Field, we set out to create a world-class environment that would be fan friendly and environmentally friendly," said Jeff Wilpon, the New York Mets chief operating officer, as he signed the agreement, which spells out design, construction and operational principles to ensure that Citi Field meets high environmental standards and reduces its carbon footprint.

The Mets are scheduled to begin play at the new 45,000 capacity Citi Field on opening day of the 2009 baseball season.

Artist's rendering of Citi Field now under construction at 126th and Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing, New York (Image courtesy New York Mets)

About 95 percent of the 12,500 tons of structural steel used to construct Citi Field is recycled. Using recycled steel not only saves money, but also reduces energy consumption, compared to making steel from virgin materials, according to the EPA.

During construction, the builders will use at least two million pounds of recycled coal combustion products instead of newly manufactured portland cement.

This commitment saves over 800 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, and is equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road for two months, the federal agency says.

"The Mets organization deserves an environmental MVP award for their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and the waste stream from the construction and operation of Citi Field," said Steinberg. "From its use of recycled materials and energy efficient lighting to its commitment to joining the Energy Star and Waste Wise partnership programs, Citi Field is looking greener every day."

To control the flow of stormwater runoff, the Mets will have 65,000 square feet of porous pavers laid to absorb the rainfall and a 3,500 square foot drainage bed designed for the commuter bus parking lot across from Citi Field.

The permeable pavers and the drainage bed will allow rain to flow through the surface and recharge the groundwater. The Queens Ballpark Company plans to have large areas on the grounds left unpaved and planted to further control stormwater.

The partners are considering installing a green roof on the administration building, which they say would decrease stormwater runoff by as much as 80 percent. It would also decrease the energy needs of the building by insulating the roof from cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer.

Once the ballpark is in operation, the Mets will use metered hands-free faucets, toilet flush-o-meters, and waterless urinals, which will conserve more than four million gallons of water a year.

"We are so pleased to see corporate citizens like the Mets step up and contribute to the goals of PlaNYC, our bold, far-reaching strategy for making New York a greener, greater city," said Mayor Bloomberg with a smile.

"It probably would have been easier to build a new ballpark without incorporating green technology, but the Mets understand that their responsibility to New Yorkers doesn't end with the third out in the bottom of the ninth," the mayor said. "They've taken the initiative to be bold, innovative, and environmentally responsible."

"The Mets have always been Orange and Blue and today they're Green too," said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "I want to congratulate the Mets on their corporate leadership in setting high environmental standards at the new Citi Field."

The Mets intend to have low-sulfur and ultra low sulfur diesel used in the construction vehicles used to build Citi Field to reduce air emissions such as CO2 and particulates. Reducing emissions from diesel engines is a top EPA priority and key to improving air quality in the New York area.

"As an environmental official and a baseball maniac, it doesn't get any better than this," said Steinberg, who hopes the greening of baseball continues to grow. "The Mets are also providing a great example for other sports and entertainment organizations, and we hope they will step up to meet that challenge," he said. "This important agreement underscores innovation and a comprehensive commitment towards sustainable development."

"The New York Mets and the EPA have worked together for the good of all New Yorkers and the good of the environment," said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "This combined effort by the private and public sector to protect and nurture our environment for the future by using technology available today deserves our gratitude and praise. The Mets continue to be Amazin'."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.