Oct 23, 2018

At 106 years old, Fenway Park helps lead MLB sustainability efforts

An aerial view of Fenway Park. Photo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images

Fenway Park, which is hosting the first game of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight, is the second-oldest baseball park in the U.S., behind only Chicago's Wrigley Field. But despite the age of the park, opened in 1912, Fenway ranks among the top 10 energy-efficient baseball stadiums in the U.S.

Why it matters: In 2008, Fenway became the first major league sports arena in the U.S. to install and use thermal solar panels, which replaced gas to heat the stadium's water. Combined with over 20 other initiatives, including LED retrofits, Fenway's efforts have resulted in a 12% reduction in total energy consumption since 2014.  

The background: Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums can use up to 30 million kilowatt hours in one season, enough to power over 3,000 U.S. homes in a year. The MLB actively encourages the clubs to commit to renewable practices, and was the first professional sports league to enroll all of its members in the Green Sports Alliance, an organization that promotes sustainability in sports. 

What's new: Last year the Red Sox announced that they would offset 100% of Fenway’s electricity use for the next 2 years by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). 

How it works: For every 1 megawatt hour of stadium energy use, Fenway purchases one REC, which represents 1 megawatt hour of renewable energy, such as solar or wind, generated and sent to the power grid. According to the announcement on MLB, 2 years of Fenway's electricity use amounts to displacing the greenhouse gas emissions of over 4,749 vehicles driven for 2 years.

What to watch: Expect more MLB stadiums to follow suit in buying RECs to offset their electricity usage.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

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