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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.

P8180005a_leed.jpg

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.

Comments


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The scoffing over at the TwinsGeek/GameDay site was, as you say, tongue in cheek. I think it's a great idea...

Posted on September 27, 2006 at 6:17 PM by Intern Sam Highlight this comment 1


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.


Fissure dude



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.









Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.



Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)






Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)



Looking back toward the doorway into the club



The entry from the platform to the ballpark.



The base of the old Met Stadium flagpole. (The plaque refers to the "Flame of Freedom" and not the origin of the pole.)



Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries



The stunning curtains, which skillfully evoke the architecture, keep the atrium from getting too hot in the late afternoon sun, simultaneously hiding the HERC.



Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P






July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)



The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)






Wanda's view!



The old flour Gold Medal Flour Mill, located next to the new Guthrie theater (Source: RP)









Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)



Big board, as viewed from section 327, row 9.



Sue Nelson, and her organ, in one of the Twins Pubs



Opening day, 2010



Some baseball legends (and Ron Coomer)






From the Downtown Council's 2025 Plan, a Metrodome "Revelopment" and a strong indication of where they think a new Vikings stadium should go.









Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.



This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.






T is for Twins






Home Run Porch Terrace



I took this picture just moments before Morneau's homer landed almost exactly where I had been standing. If only I hadn't wanted to watch the game...






Plaza overview



Just, wow.









Wind veil framing






The season was perfectly bookended by Mick Sterling on the plaza



Marquette looking south






The Pro Shop.



Photo by Jeff Ewer


Glossary

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
 


(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(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
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
(2004)
 

Complete Bibliography

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