WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28 – When the Washington Nationals take the field Sunday night to face the Atlanta Braves, they'll do so at the new Nationals Park, which today became the first major stadium in the country to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification.

“Every resident of the District of Columbia should be proud that we not only have the greatest ballpark in the country, but also the greenest,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in a press statement. “The District of Columbia is the first in the nation to have a LEED-certified stadium, and we have set the bar high for the rest of the country by winning LEED-Silver status.”

Certified to LEED-Silver, the 41,888-seat ballpark, a brownfield redevelopment located in downtown Washington steps from the Anacostia River, was completed in just 23 months, another first for MLB stadiums.

The new ballpark was built by Clark Construction of Bethesda, Md., and designed by Kansas City, Mo.-based HOK Sport, which also managed the LEED Certification process.

Since the stadium is expected to serve as an anchor for urban revitalization, the city took numerous steps to ensure the area would become a sustainable site, including:

  • The ballpark site was enrolled in the Voluntary Cleanup Program and therefore provides an opportunity to leave the roughly 25-acre site a much better environment then when it was received. Environmental remediation efforts are ongoing.

  • The stadium is accessible by public transportation, including subway stations and local bus routes.

  • Parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, car pools, and bicycles will be provided in the garages on site.

The stadium features an intricate ground- and storm-water filtration system that will protect the Anacostia River by separating water used for cleaning the ballpark from rainwater falling on the ballpark and treating both sources before it is released to the sanitary and stormwater systems.

The stadium also features a number of other green elements that were vital in its achieving LEED-Silver, including water-conserving plumbing fixtures that are projected to save 3.6 million gallons of water annually; high-efficiency lighting (including the field lights) for an estimated 21% energy savings; the use of 20% recycled content in construction materials; drought-resistant landscape materials; a green roof, which will minimize heat gain; and roof materials that offer a higher degree of reflectance. In addition, the ballpark will recycle all glass, metal, plastic, cardboard, and paper products

"We were charting new waters with the certification process on the ballpark," Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED Market Development for USGBC, tells Green Products and Technology. "But everyone—from HOK to the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, the Nationals, and various industry groups—was on board to make this happen, and that’s what made this project a success."
“Creating a green ballpark was as fundamental as any requirement when we decided to embark on this mission to build a new state-of-the-art stadium for the Washington Nationals,” said D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission CEO Gregory A. O’Dell in a statement. “We are excited to set the environmental standard for the rest of the sporting world, and we are extremely proud of this achievement for the District of Columbia.”

To view a second gallery of images from Nationals Park, click here.