By Matt Nauman
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants clinched the National League West more than a week ago. And the playoffs don’t start until this weekend.
But don’t think the pennant chase is over as the championship for the greenest team in baseball is still to be determined.
The Giants are the defending champions – the holders of four consecutive Green Gloves awarded by Major League Baseball for the team that recycles composts and diverts the most waste created by cheering fans. The team achieved an 85.2 percent waste diversion rate in 2011.
Those green gloves are proudly display in a very prominent spot – right next to the Giants’ 2010 World Series trophy – on the Virgin America Club level of the AT&T Park.
This year’s competition is expected to come down to the final games as both the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are eying the Giants’ green crown.
Since it opened in 2000, AT&T Park has been known for environmental stewardship that reflects the Giants’ Northern California fan base. And much of that work has been done in partnership with PG&E.
At AT&T, fans will find:
- Solar panels that send clean, renewable electricity into the grid. The 123-kilowatt system was installed in 2007 and creates enough energy for 5,200 homes.
- About 130 well-marked bins that let fans know where to put items heading for recycling, composting or the landfill.
- Green Teams that help collect empty soda cups and hot dog wrappers in the 7th inning.
- A Green Garlic Fries concession stand that uses recycled oil and energy-efficient fryers.
- Special soil and irrigation-timing devices that reduce the amount of water needed on the field.
- A LEED certification in 2010, making AT&T Park the first existing ballpark to become silver rated.
A case study on the Giants ballpark recently released by the National Resources Defense Council highlights many of those achievements.
“The reasons to go green and become more efficient are all so compelling,” Jorge Costa, the Giants’ senior vice president of ballpark operations, is quoted as saying, “but there’s also an element of leadership, innovation and commitment that can’t be overlooked.”
New this year are four parking spots near the ballpark that are reserved for electric vehicles. They include chargers so fans can drive home with a full tank of electricity after a Giants win. They were unveiled in September during San Francisco’s EV Week
Mike Martin, the Giants’ sponsorship services coordinator, said the EV parking spots reflect both the commitment of the club’s owners as well as the demands of the fans.
“This shows the priority that we put on the environment,” Martin said.
PG&E is a sponsor of the Giants. That means there is a PG&E sign on the scoreboard, and green tours arranged by the utility for school groups and community partners. In July, a teacher from Oceano Elementary in San Luis Obispo County was named as PG&E’s Solar Schools Inspirational Educator of the Year and got to throw out the first pitch at a game.
On TV, Giants in-game reporter Amy Gutierrez frequently highlights the park’s green innovations or a recent PG&E event, such as the park’s solar panels or its recycling processing center. Last week, she told viewers about the new EV parking spots where a PG&E-owned Chevy Volt was being charged.
“PG&E proudly supports the Giants and their efforts to create the greenest ball park in the nation,” said Ezra Garrett, PG&E’s vice president of community relations and the utility’s chief sustainability officer. “As the team moves toward its second World Series in three years, Giants fans and PG&E customers will get even more chances to learn about renewable energy and caring for the environment while cheering on their team.”
Email Matt Nauman at firstname.lastname@example.org.