By Annie DeMuth
In light of the solar and energy theme of this issue, it makes sense to illuminate the continuing sustainability efforts of one of Arizona’s favorite ballparks and recognize the pioneers behind their green initiatives, starting close to home at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball stadium.
The major league establishment has made sustainability a defining issue, bringing it to the forefront. The Diamondbacks Vice President of Special Projects, Graham Rossini, spoke optimistically of their meaningful obligation. “We feel that we have a social responsibility to educate our fan base on how they can follow our lead and make behavioral changes in their own day to day lives, whether at home or work,” he said. He also added that the stadium’s mass reach gives them a unique advantage to help promote positive change in the baseball world, which going forward, is exactly what they seek to do.
Most notable is the APS Solar Pavilion, a 17,280-square-foot solar shade covering the western plaza entrance and ticket offices at Chase Field. For the project, the ballpark partnered with Arizona Public Service, the largest electric utility in Arizona generating electricity to over 1.2 million people. Aside from providing much-needed shade in sweltering temperatures, the pavilion produces 100,000 kilowatts of solar energy, which is enough energy to power 11 home games. It is an initiative that should pay off over the coming years when millions of globetrotting baseball fans make their way to Chase Field to watch their team showdown against the Diamondbacks.
Leading this green enterprise are the Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall and the Director of Special Projects Matt Helmeid. Adamant about setting the bar high and laying out a positive example, Hall manages to run his team with these sustainable principles. Similarly, Helmeid works day-to-day to make many of these ideas a reality for the eco-conscious stadium. However, their efforts are only made possible by local sustainable companies like APS and Waste Management, who have allowed the Diamondbacks to implement these initiatives and pave the way for a new way of doing things. “We have been able to lean on them [APS and Waste Management] for expertise, while also providing a valuable platform to communicate their own environmental messaging,” said Rossini.
As far as new ideas for 2018, there is talk of implementing an urban garden to sell fresh and locally sourced food at the concession stands. “We serve an enormous amount of food in the ballpark, and having an on-site garden is valuable as both a food source and communication tool,” Rossini said.
The Diamondbacks’ eco-conscious efforts only continue from there. Right now, fans who drive electric cars are encouraged to utilize the vehicle charging stations located on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Jackson. Completed this past off-season, all concourse lighting and most parking garages have been converted to energy-efficient LED, resulting in 60 percent power savings annually. In partnership with Waste Management, they added 200 dual recycling bins throughout the building’s exterior. New to 2017, they also inputted high-efficiency hand dryers in the restrooms with hopes to reduce more than 1,000 miles of paper towels each year.
“We are always looking for additional ways to expand our sustainable operations, which certainly include solar and energy efficiency,” Rossini said. In the end, these projects are in place to not only set the Diamondbacks apart but to eventually establish the industry standard for global solar initiatives.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 02: The D-backs defeat the Giants 6-5. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks)
Annie DeMuth is a freelance writer and blogger interested in fashion, yoga and healthy living. She received a degree in journalism from the University of Arizona in 2013 and has since contributed to a number of local magazines. She now writes content for professional photographers’ websites and also maintains a weekly yoga blog focused on inspiring others with yoga advice and wellness tips. For more information, please visit anniedemuth.com.
Read more about corporate social responsibility at greenlivingaz.com/csr.