Washington Nationals Open First Green U.S. Ballpark

WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2008 (ENS) - When the Washington Nationals host the Atlanta Braves in Sunday's nationally televised baseball season opener, they will play at the first green-built ballpark in the United States.

Completed just in time for Opening Day, the new 41,000-plus seat Nationals Park is the first U.S. stadium to achieve environmental certification by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, rating system.

To earn its LEED Silver rating, the ballpark features numerous environmentally-friendly elements, including high efficiency lighting, low emitting finishes, highly recycled materials, and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

This webcam shot of the new Nationals Park taken this afternoon shows all in readiness for Opening Day. (Image courtesy Clark Construction OxBlue)

A 6,300 square foot green roof covered with plants is located above a concession area beyond left field to help absorb rainwater and reduce runoff to the nearby Anacostia River.

Nationals Park also has an intricate groundwater and stormwater filtration system. Given the stadium's proximity to the Anacostia, the architecture and engineering team took great care to design systems that treat both groundwater and stormwater runoff.

The ballpark's filtration system separates water used for cleaning from rainwater and treats both sources of water before releasing them to sanitary and stormwater systems.

Third-party commissioning of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will ensure that all systems run at their most efficient, saving energy and money, the builders say.

The ballpark was built by Clark/Hunt/Smoot, a joint venture composed of Clark Construction Group, LLC of Bethesda, Maryland; Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis, Indiana; and Smoot Construction Company of Washington, DC. The combined portfolio of these three firms includes the construction of 11 of the past 16 Major League Baseball stadiums built in the United States.

The project was supervised by Clark Construction's Ronnie Strompf, who has called the stadium "green friendly." The project has relied heavily on recycled materials, and during construction, more than 80 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Clark/Hunt/Smoot worked with HOK Sport and local architecture firm Devroux & Purnell to design and build the stadium in just 23 months, a record for the construction of a major league ballpark.

President George W. Bush has accepted the Nationals' invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team's season opener against the Braves. Game time is at 8:05 pm ET on Sunday.

The occasion will mark the second time President Bush has thrown out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nationals game. The first one occurred on April 14, 2005, when Washington played its first game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Another new ballpark now under construction will be environmentally-friendly tool. Citi Field, the New York Mets' new stadium, set to host its first game on Opening Day 2009, will feature recycled steel beams, concrete made from coal combustion ash, energy and water conservation, stormwater runoff controls.

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