Make It a Green Field
September 26, 2006 8:52 PM
Hello again! Real life intruded on my blogging availability for a while, but I have a large backlog of topics and a little bit of time ahead to tackle them. Please forgive my absence. Let's get to it!
Your Ballpark Authority has been busy, albeit with a bunch of issues that may seem a bit dry at first.
Top among these is something called LEED Certification. Dave St. Peter gave a brief introduction over on his blog, but there's much more to say. The Twins could really become innovators here without adding much in the way of cost or hassle to their ballpark design.
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
The idea is that if you're going to build a big building, why not build it using sound environmental principles?
Imagine capturing rain water in a big tank beneath the park and reusing it later for irrigating the grass and flushing the toilets. This reduces both waste water into the sewers and the need to draw on fresh water. It's a no-brainer.
Imagine recycling gravel excavated from the site to build the drainage system beneath the grass. That saves on landfill costs and space, while also saving on the cost of buying new gravel.
Imagine 43,000 plastic seats, each made from 100% recycled materials.
Imagine orienting the building to maximize sunshine, then putting up solar panels to store power which is later used to turn on the lights during night games. The power savings could be huge.
Some will scoff at the notion (even if it is tongue-in-cheek), but if the Twins can make this happen, they will have the first stadium in North America to do so (only one other stadium in Europe has done this).
A quick glance at the requriements shows that the new ballpark already meets some of the big standards by virtue of A) replacing a surface parking lot, B) being very close to bus and train routes (less people will have to drive to get there), and C) planning to use excess steam from the HERC plant for heating and cooling.
So what's the catch?
That depends on who you talk to. Some will say that it adds substantial up-front costs which are not recouped for years -- if ever. Some say that it makes the project vulnerable to delays and cost overruns it might not otherwise see. Some say that ballparks are a special category of building which can't benefit as much from this type of design as, say, your average office building. These are some of the things that naysayers are currently naysaying in Washinton.
These people are all wrong. The costs are manageable. The risk of delays is no greater. The potential upside is just huge. Since this program was created, the price of green technologies has dropped substantially, and some are actually cheaper than their standard counterparts. Companies that have built buildings to this certification report using 42% less energy and 34% less water than their traditional counterparts. Those are savings which it doesn't take a microscope to measure. What's more, they report a 15% increase in employee productivity (imagine Mauer hitting .401!).
But there is till resistance, and it is motivated mostly by fear, and our biological instinct to take the bird in the hand (smaller cost savings now over bigger cost savings later). So it's heartening to hear (by way of Mr. St. Peter) that the Pohlad family is genuinely committed to building green (so to speak).
The key to making it work is to include this as a goal from the very beginning. That's where the LEED guidelines come in. They are structured to guide a project through the process from day one. This then requires the project to employ architects, engineers, and builders who are familiar with the technologies and techniques. This is easier said than done.
The Harvard Business Review ran a feature in June in which Charles Lockwood talks about many of these issues. (Read the entire article in this PDF file.) He says that the biggest barrier to building this way is simple inertia. "Team members who are unfamiliar with green will often resist any deviation from standard design principles, building materials, and construction processes. They will make mistakes on everything from the amount of insulation needed to the selection of interior components like nontoxic flooring, therefore limiting the building’s sustainability and having a negative impact on the budget."
Presuming that HOK will be the principle architect for this project, they do appear to have some experience with LEED certification.
But the bigger question is just how much the construction costs will be increased in order to meet the requirements. This is still unclear, and the stadium law passed by the Legislature stipulates that LEED certification is only required "if the Authority obtains grants sufficient to cover the increased costs."
Technically, this puts the whole thing into something of a limbo state: no grants, no LEED.
That would be a great mistake. The principles being talked about here are the types of things which will be standard design and building practices within a decade. Why not be on the cutting edge? If our ballpark is genuinely being built to last for generations (at least 2), then commitment to this type of innovative design is absolutely necessary.
The Ballpark Authority seemed genuinely committed to the idea of environmentally-friendly design, but it was clear that their greater commitment is to the budget.
I hope this doesn't lead to short-sighted decision-making.
To utilized enhanced comment features, please enable cookies in your browser.
This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
This view, through a B ramp window, won't last forever.
1885 Sanborn Map Image (Source: Sanborn Map Collection, Minneapolis Public Library, Copyright © 2001 by The Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Library, LLC)
The glare problem.
Bruce Lambrecht on the roof of the Minikahda building.
The view down Sixth Street toward the ballpark site. A pedestrian bridge will extend this street right into the main entrance of the park. The regrettable facade of Target Center is on the left. Butler Square is on the right. Click on the image to see what it looked like on this very spot about 100 years ago.
I know you've seen this, but I can't get enough of it.
Final Metrodome baseball sight
Here's another look at the Oliva gate.
Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
Millers fans leaving Nicollet Park after a game in 1923, where a trolley was waiting. (Click to enlarge.)
Click to enlarge
Skinny dugouts at TF
Two plazas in Spain. (Brad and I were pretending to steal coins from the fountain. We were all just so darn funny back in high school, eh?)
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Write your own caption. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
The circulation ramp on the north now has its louver framing.
This is NOT Twins Territory anymore
A classic profile on the horizon
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
Brick work just inside the opening matches the color of the limestone - per Jerry Bell's requirements.
Clyde Doepner's Met Stadium Memorabilia (Source: LP)
This looks like a Twins Pub, but is actually the scoreboard operations.
Not me, but it might as well be.
Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.
A truck is leaving the HERC plant. Here you can see the proximity to the promenade. For the record, the truck drove right by me and I smelled nothing...
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
Some people will go to work here every day.
The limestone now wraps around onto the HERC side.
And another angle looking at the overhang area of the right field pavilion. This looks to me like a great area to watch a game.
Actual LRT tracks are now in the street, and buses now pass over them before entering the transit hub.
A scene repeated about a BILLION times each game
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.
This is the left field pavilion in the original concept model. The restaurant pictured to its right has been moved, and the seating area has been extended at least one full section toward center.
The Legends Club retail store is just visible at the right of this picture.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures