While Major League baseball has just come to an end for the 2011 season, fans of the sport know that, in a few short months, spring training will begin again. Eco-minded fans may worry about the giant carbon footprint of baseball stadiums that require massive amounts of energy to operate 6-7 months each year. Consider that there are 30 MLB teams, each of which have stadiums that seat thousands of fans.
A new trend is to install solar panels on sports stadiums to use free, renewable solar energy to defray grid-based electricity requirements. Over the past several years, solar panels on Fenway Park in Boston have helped heat hot water for stadium requirements, saving the equivalent of. In fact, Fenway Park was the first major league baseball stadium to go solar in the U.S.
This is big for a number of reasons. Fenway Park is one of the most famous baseball stadiums in the world and home to the Boston Red Sox. When fans see baseball promoting recycling or solar panels, it rubs off, according to Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and director of the sports greening program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Since 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council has partnered with Major League Baseball to create a strategy whereby baseball stadiums can rely on renewable energy like solar power, reduce waste and conserve water.
The solar panels on Fenway Park were installed as part of the stadium’s most recent makeover in 2008. Fenway is one of the oldest Major League Baseball stadiums currently in use, originally opening in the year 1912.
Since 2008, solar panels on the roof of Fenway Park has generated enough power for 37% of the hot water needs of the stadium. As a result, the solar panel system helps avoid 18 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of planting 4.86 acres of trees or not driving a car for 43,611 miles.