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Nationals Park the sustainable site of 2015 Classic

by NHL Green

On January 1, the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals take the game outdoors, on a rink constructed above the infield at Nationals Park. The ballpark plays host to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA).

The NHL is committed to preserving the tradition of outdoor hockey. Our sport was born on frozen ponds and relies on winter weather. Everyone who loves our game will benefit by taking an active role in preserving the environment and the roots of the game.

This year, we released the 2014 NHL Sustainability Report. The report details League-wide environmental impacts and measures the League, our clubs and arenas are taking to improve.

Soon thereafter we formed an unprecedented partnership with Constellation, to counterbalance total estimated carbon emissions for the 2014-15 season.

Emissions resulting from the energy, water, waste and club transportation associated with the 2015 NHL Winter Classic will be counterbalanced through the NHL’s partnership with Constellation, which supports the development of renewable energy. This means that all energy needs will be met with an equivalent investment in clean electricity from wind or biomass sources.

Premiere events, such as the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, celebrate hockey’s roots. The two sites selected for outdoor games this season (Nationals Park and Levi’s Stadium) have been recognized as leaders in sustainable design.

When Nationals Park opened in 2008, the site was categorized as a brownfield redevelopment. The ballpark made history by becoming the nation’s first major sports venue to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification (Silver).

The stadium was celebrated for numerous “green” elements:

•A 6,300 square foot green roof in the left-field concession area minimizes heat gain and water-runoff

•An innovative stormwater runoff system captures solid material from both rainwater and washwater in the seating areas, filtering contaminants to help protect the nearby Anacostia River

•A highly-reflective “cool roof” covers concourses and concessions areas to minimize heat gains and reduce the need for air conditioning

•High-efficiency field lighting and an LED scoreboard enhance both game presentation and sustainability

•Heat recovery and upgraded ventilation systems in locker rooms help reduce energy consumption

•Water-efficient plumbing and bathroom fixtures use 30% less water than comparable facilities, saving about 3.6 million gallons of water per year

•Use of air-cooled chillers (instead of water-cooled) saves an additional 6 million gallons of water each year

•Construction materials used for the ballpark were chosen for their recycled content, regional availability and low chemical emissions; of all construction waste, 83% (by weight) was diverted from landfill

•The ballpark neighbors a variety of public transportation options, including rail, bike and nine bus routes. The ballpark also offers fans a unique bike valet service on game days.

Nationals Park will further assist the NHL in tracking of certain environmental metrics associated with the event. The League utilizes the data for future reporting and to benchmark performance for future NHL outdoor games. Nationals Park will track the energy use, water consumption, and waste and recycling tonnage associated with NHL activities and operations. NHL will document transportation of players, as well as League and Club employees.

The NHL’s Food Recovery Initiative annually diverts approximately 100 tons of waste from landfills and provides 150,000 meals to local shelters across North America. Nationals Park has been involved in food donations for many years, partnering with DC Central Kitchen, a leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise. Prepared but untouched food will be donated after the Winter Classic.

Coors Light, in partnership with WRAP (Washington Regional Alcohol Program), is purchasing and distributing Metro SmarTrip cards throughout the month of December to help fans get to the game safely. This initiative to encourage responsibility also offers fans a more sustainable transit option.

As part of the NHL’s Legacy Initiative, the NHL and Washington Capitals refurbished 'Watkins Rush Rink,' a street hockey rink at the Watkins Elementary School and Recreation Center in Southeast Washington, D.C. Sustainability upgrades included rubber matting surrounding the rink made from 170 recycled tires, upgraded energy efficient lighting and new recycle bin receptacles.

View a diagram detailing the sustainable aspects of Nationals Park »

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