Last night was Major League Baseball’s opening day and the first game of the season just so happened to be in my home town at the brand new Nationals Stadium. I managed to score tickets to both opening night and the exhibition game the night before. I am happy to report that the Nats won both the exhibition game (versus the Orioles) and also beat the Braves on opening night!
HOK designed the stadium, and I must say, the designers did a fabulous job. The stadium is fantastic! A tremendous leap from RFK, and as an ex-Marylander it pains me to say it, but this place far surpasses Camden Yards.
One of the greatest things about the new stadium is that it’s achieved LEED Silver – it is the first LEED certified ballpark. This is an amazing accomplishment!
After spending a couple of evenings at the stadium, there were a few things I noticed that the owners/managers might want to work on to make the facility even more green:
- As a LEED facility, there is no smoking permitted inside the stadium; however, there is a dedicated smoking zone immediately outside the park. This is located right where you have to walk by to get to the gate to get in – lovely to walk past a haze of smoke. The location of the smoking enclosure is also an exit – lovely to walk through a haze of smoke and across a field of cigarette butts on the way out.
- There are recycling bins all over the stadium; however, there is not one next to every trash can, and as far as I am aware, there is no additional signage, announcements, or other reminders to fans to recycle their beer bottles.
- The beer vendors sell their wares in what at first glance appear to be plastic cups, but if you look closer, they are actually compostable cups made from corn. Very cool, except that they are either being thrown in the plastic recycling bin or in the trash, neither of which gets the cup composted.
- The ladies rooms have dual flush toilets, but the only signage is a teeny tiny little up and down arrow on the toilet flushing lever. Unless you already are familiar with flushing up for #1, it’s extremely likely that you will flush down. Additional signage or announcements might help this.
Again, many props to the designers, construction professionals, and visionaries that helped bring this great stadium to DC. I sincerely hope that as operations continue, the facility will continue to meet and surpass expectations as a green facility.