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Brian Keane

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America's Pastime and Its Clean Energy Future

Posted: 04/10/2012 6:28 pm

Baseball is back and the outfield has never looked so green!

And I say this knowing that back in 2004, SmartPower created an award winning series of television ads that featured sports stadiums from across the nation using clean energy. The ad showed that even back then, America was producing enough clean energy to power every sports stadium in the country.

And then to prove it, we sponsored a Clean Energy Night at the Pawtucket Red Sox game. Indeed, fans in attendance at the minor league game that night were struck to see that the lights shined bright, the stadium operated at full speed and the hometown team continued to please.

Back then we broadcast that "Clean Energy is real. It's here. And it's working." And working it is!

This past offseason the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals joined a growing number of teams who understand that the future runs on clean, green energy.

The Indians reinforced this notion in 2007 when they became the first American League team to place solar at their home field. In March, the Windians -- as their fan base affectionately calls them -- became the first MLB team to install a wind turbine, bringing new meaning to the nickname. The franchise installed a locally designed corkscrew-shaped wind turbine that now sits atop Progressive Field and serves as a model for others.

According to the Washington Post, the turbine will be illuminated by super-efficient LED lights that will be visible to "anyone traveling into downtown on roadways from the south." Officials remain optimistic that the project will shed light on the potential for renewable energy in the region and lead to more green job growth.

Now I don't mean to brag (read: I mean to brag), but my Boston Red Sox aren't relying on 9th-inning relief efforts either. Back in 2008, the Sox put the green in their Green Monster by becoming the first team in Major League Baseball to install solar thermal panels at the beloved Fenway Park. The panels, located on the roof behind home plate, help heat water used throughout the facility. According to the Red Sox, the panels replace more than 35 percent of gas traditionally used for the process, saving energy, carbon -- 18 tons of CO2 each year -- and overhead costs.

As a growing number of teams and leagues adopt similar clean energy measures, their fans, in turn, will hopefully do the same. In February, I wrote how the NFL made Super Bowl XLVI the greenest game in its history and it seems the NBA took notice. Last week, the league and its teams celebrated NBA Green Week to kick off Earth Month. Needless to say, baseball isn't the only sport stepping up to the plate when it comes to clean energy.

Still, baseball's yearlong presence means that the sport has the unique opportunity to drive home green habits with fans. Indeed, then, it is not only America's pastime, but also the future. As more teams adopt clean energy, fans across the country will start to live, breathe and cheer green.

Brian Keane is the President of SmartPower, a non-profit marketing organization funded by private foundations to help build the clean energy marketplace by helping the American public become smarter about their energy use.

 
 
 

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