The Sacramento River Cats Minor League Baseball team are adopting a series of measures to improve their environmental credentials.
The team has recently retrofitted LED lighting throughout its Raley Field ballpark and is currently assessing LED pitch floodlighting.
Brett Myers, director of stadium operations said:
In the 2016 season we went through and retrofitted the ballpark with LED lights. About 75% of our lights are now LED, from concourse lights to car park lights and in the ticket plaza. We have seen significant changes and our air conditioning bill has gone down because LED lights operate at a lot cooler temperatures.
He said Minor League Baseball is finally getting to the point where clubs are comfortable about introducing LED field lights.
A few facilities in the country have it at the moment and we are starting to approach it now. Right now all of our field lights are 1,500 watt metal halogen lights which burn a lot of power. Every time we turn those things on it costs us $750 to $1,000 just to turn on the lights. We’re trying to figure out a way of saving some money and to make it still safe for the players.
The San Francisco Giants just put in LED lights at all of their facilities and that got us thinking we could start looking at it. The poles are ready for LED. We want to be one of the first Minor League Baseball parks to have LED field lighting and to show it can be done.
The ballpark, which hosts 72 home games a year, is also undertaking a range of other green initiatives.
Chip Maxson, general manager of Raley Field said about a quarter of the venue’s electricity comes from solar power, equivalent to $60,000 in savings per year.
And he said the HVAC system could now be controlled from venue managers’ phones via a Pelican system, resulting in cost savings.
In 2015 Raley Field installed its Green Acres garden and has since donated 700 lbs of strawberries, apples, corn and tomatoes to Raley’s Food for Families programme.
There is also a vineyard on site and the ballpark is looking to produce its first barrel of wine in 2018.
Myers said the venue was also working hard to reduce food waste from its concession stands and making sure it went into the right bins. He said:
As of last year we did over 15 tons in food waste. This year alone, and we’re only half way through the season, we have done 16 tons, so we’re on pace to do double what we did last year because of the education we did.
The same thing with recycling. We did 40 tons of recycling last year and were already at 23.5 tons now. We’re going to pass last year. We’re diverting all this stuff from landfill which is what the Republic and City is looking for.
When you think about it from a cost perspective, the tons of waste we used to pay for as trash, some of that we’re now getting back as a recycling rebate, which obviously helps the bottom line out a lot.
Raley Park also operates a car pool scheme whereby a $10 parking fee is waived for car loads of four or more people.