Sustainability: Green DBacks

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are part of the Green Sports Alliance, which means they pledge to make efforts towards sustainability and green practices every year. One example is the Solar Plaza, which generates enough electricity to power 11 home games a year. We’ll take a look at the Green DBacks.

TED: Tonight's edition of Arizona Sustainability looks at environmental efforts by a local sports team. Baseball means hotdogs, home runs and the World Series but how about sustainability? The Arizona Diamondbacks are in their 6th year as members of the Green Sports Alliance, a group of sports teams with a mission to bring environmental awareness to their stadiums, arenas and ball fields. Producer Allysa Adams found out there's a lot you can do to help the environment in a stadium that seats close to 50,000 people.


REPORTER: From the opening anthem, to the show on the Jumbotron, the Dbacks game at Chase Field is an event. But look beyond the ceremonial first pitch and you may notice something else going on here.

GRAHAM ROSSINI: There's a lot that sports can help create in terms of awareness and environmental stewardship.

REPORTER: Graham Rossini, the Vice President of Special Projects and Fan Experience, says the Diamondbacks' green efforts go far beyond what you see on the field.

GRAHAM: I think energy efficiency, better use of resources, the materials we bring into play is an enormous focus of ours.

REPORTER: The sustainability efforts start even before you walk in the gate.
There are the electronic charging stations, and the APS Solar Pavilion, which creates enough energy to offset 15% of the Diamondbacks' usage.

GRAHAM: It's an obvious reminder to fans that we're in the desert, we have a lot of sunshine, there's ways to use the sunshine to create alternative energy.

REPORTER: Look up and you'll see the new LED lights that have resulted in a 60% savings in power use. Look down, and you'll see one of the 100 recycling containers spread across the concourse. And there's the not so obvious, those red shirts you see on the 200 plus Game Day staff.

MATT HELMEID: Each polo shirt they are wearing actually has 16 recycled bottles broken down into pallets, woven into the fabric and made into awesome shirts.

REPORTER: You can pick up your won eco-friendly shirt in the Team Shop. It's a nod to a more subtle recycling effort, but Matt Helmeid, the Diamondbacks Director of Special Projects says every little bit counts.

MATT: Sustainability is such a hard topic to talk about with fans and really it's so broad and very difficult to understand. So little things like that that we do like that, that takes bottles out of the waste stream puts a product on a person, they may not know it. Some of them absolutely do know it.

REPORTER: Fans may also have no idea that the paper plates, napkins and paper towels they use are all made from recycled material. And in the luxury suites, even the forks and knives are compostable.

GRAHAM: Over the course of 60+ suites in the ballpark, over 81 games in the season, that can accumulate and build up a lot. So I think knowing that on a nightly basis we're not putting that stuff into the landfill, we're able to offset that use and put it back in the environment in a healthy manner, has been really, really effective.

REPORTER: Also a hit, loyalty and reusable cups.

MARTY MARTINEAU: It's a good deal and it's pretty nice. This year is a little nicer than last year's.

REPORTER: Marty Martineau, like thousands of other fans, picks up a loyalty cup every year and he appreciates that he's helping the environment just a little while cheering on his team.

MARTY: I do what I can in any way to help the community.

REPORTER: Put them side-to-side, and there's a half a mile of concession space in Chase Field. That's a lot of hotdogs.

GRAHAM: On a nightly basis there's going to be food we can't serve in the ballpark, and so we created some partnerships with nonprofits in the Valley to make sure that that food gets back into the community and gets some use. We have been able to donate 8 tons of food last season alone, which is the equivalent of over 14,000 meals. We can provide back to the less fortunate.

REPORTER: And while it's easy to see where the Dbacks stand during any given game, it's tough tougher to measure how their sustainability efforts are paying off , but that's okay--they are in it for the long haul, well after the last out is called.

GRAHAM: I think creating an awareness of fans, that if we're doing it in complexes or a facility as complex as Chase Field, as large as we are, there's no reason you can't take some of these initiatives and apply that back in your own day-to-day lives wherever that may be.


TED: The Diamondbacks' Spring Training Facility at Salt River Fields is one of the first LEED gold certified sports venues in the country. Certification is for leadership and energy and environmental design.

Wednesday on Arizona Horizon, we'll look at how tree and brush clippings, along with other forest debris, are being tested as fuel for a power plant in Northwestern Arizona--actually, I think it's northeastern Arizona--anyway, it's on the next Arizona Horizon, we'll find out together.

That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons, thanks so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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