Arizona Diamondbacks adding more ‘green’ to Chase Field

Posted By Mike Padgett

May 7, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks and energy consultants plan to add more “green” to Chase Field than just its infield.

The team is working with Green Ideas Environmental Building Consultants in Phoenix to increase the energy efficiency of the 12-year-old sports arena. That effort could include lighting systems and bulbs consuming less electricity, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and programs reducing the amount of trash created during each event.

The strategies could include replacing food vendors’ plastic forks and spoons with biodegradable eating utensils made from cornstarch, says Charlie Popeck, Green Ideas president and co-founder.

“We’re just starting to formulate the strategy now,” Popeck says. “They (team officials) know they want to move forward. We’re just confirming that it can, in fact, be done.”

Chase Field is one of the largest customers of Arizona Public Service, which is offering advice to help the ball club achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. If successful, the ball park would become the first existing structure of its kind with the LEED status. Nationals Park in Washington D.C. became the nation’s first new stadium with LEED certification when it opened in 2008.

The Arizona team’s interest in environmental issues, announced in a press release, is long term. “Rather than enact a simple recycling program throughout the ballpark, we chose to develop a program to have Chase Field achieve the ultimate certification in green building to make sure we were covering all aspects of corporate sustainability and advocating to our fans how important is for them to become involved as well,” said Cullen Maxey, Diamondbacks senior vice president of business operations.

Green Ideas has helped more than 100 sustainable developments reduce their consumption of energy and water. Popeck says the company’s work with the city of Phoenix during the design and construction of the new Phoenix Convention Center led to a savings of 2.2 million kilowatt-hours and 43 percent of domestic water consumption, annually. Those numbers translate into the yearly electricity needs of 209 American households and a third of the water in Tempe Town Lake.

Popeck and Mark Wilhelm are founding principals of Green Ideas. They also served on the steering committee that in 2002 established the U.S. Green Building Council chapter in Arizona. It became the third such council in the United States.

Popeck is responsible for the company’s business development, marketing, educational programs and operations. He has worked as a carpenter, a licensed California general contractor and in management positions for several contractors, manufacturers and architectural firms. He also writes regularly for trade publications about green design, construction and operations management.

Wilhelm, prior to Green Ideas, was president of GreenBuilt Consulting, a national sustainable building consultancy serving the design, construction and energy industries. He worked for 13 years at Arizona Public Service Co. in marketing, customer service and sales leadership positions. Wilhelm also is the appointed chairman of the State of Arizona’s Solar Energy Advisory Council.

The third partner in Green Ideas is Terry Hudgins, an associate principal who specializes in land development, planning and zoning, and governmental affairs. He was involved in sustainable development projects for 23 years at APS, where he became manager of environmental, health and safety initiatives.


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May 7th, 2009

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