The Washington Nationals’ new ballpark is setting a new green standard for major league baseball.
Biodegradable corn-based drinking cups, recyclable plates and hotdog wrappers help to reduce landfill trash. Eco-friendly high-efficiency bulbs power up the banks of field lights. And there are 20 of Chrysler’s clean-running GEM electric vehicles in use at the ballpark, patrolling the stadium concourses and the surrounding streets.
“We do care about the environment,” said Matthew Blush – Director of Ballpark Operations for Nationals Park. “We want a friendly stadium for our fans to come to. We want to recycle the elements that come out of this stadium. We want it to be clean. We want it to stay clean.”
“(GEM vehicles) are very clean, they're very quiet, they're very user-friendly,” he said. “All of those put together give you a perfect vehicle. People look at them and say, "Oh, these aren't gas, are they?" No, they're electric cars and you can drive them anywhere in the city.”
The D.C. ballpark is the nation's first major sports stadium to gain the U. S. Green Building Council's "LEED," or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, compliance.
There’s no gas pump sticker shock for the zero-emission vehicles. The GEM vehicles are simply plugged in for the night and ready to roll, fully charged, for game day duties.
That has other major sports teams kicking the tires on the GEM vehicles, Blush said.
“We've got catering trucks around here now that are using
them. The park service uses them. In fact, I think they even got
some before we did. The government's looking into them. Even D.C.
EMS Fire and Rescue is looking into them. They really like the way
they're used here at the stadium for different events they have
throughout the city. I know there's other teams looking at
acquiring them—football and baseball, soccer,” he