The field, roof, and even seats are green at Miller Park, the stadium where the Milwaukee Brewers play, and they have gone beyond color to become a truly Green facility, as in environmental. Miller Park has received one of the most prestigious honors for facility sustainability and conservation efforts. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that Miller Park is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified in the category of Existing Building Operations & Maintenance, making it the first stadium with a retractable roof and just the third Major League Baseball stadium overall to receive the designation.
Since the initial plans for Miller Park and throughout its existence, the Brewers have worked to reduce Miller Park’s impact on the environment and seek green and environmental programs including hosting a Green Week, and becoming one of the top 10 stadiums for vegetarian food options. Working with another Milwaukee Company, Johnson Controls, Inc., the Brewers upped the ante and sought out full LEED certification.
LEED is a voluntary, rigorous process that involves the following:
- LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification to confirm that a building is operated using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
- LEED was developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)
- LEED-certified buildings are designed to:
- Lower operating costs and increase asset value
- Reduce waste sent to landfills
- Conserve energy and water
- Be healthier and safer for occupants
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions
The honor recognizes the Brewers and its partners, led by facility manager Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI), for their commitment to sustainability and efficiencies in the operations of Miller Park, but the LEED certification process involved coordination with many additional stakeholders at Miller Park. In addition to the Brewers and JCI, key partners included Performance Clean LLC, Sportservice, Grumman/Butkus Associates, Waste Management and The Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District. Others involved included ImPark, Hunzinger Construction, Mortenson Contruction and Uihlein Wilson Architects.
Miller Park is one of the most complicated buildings ever certified in the LEED Existing Building rating system, due to the nature of the facility, the sheer volume of people, materials, vendors, the operable roof, and overall complexity of the building operations. Only two other Major League Baseball stadiums have achieved LEED for Existing Buildings (AT&T Park in San Francisco and Target Field in Minneapolis), and both of them are open-air facilities. The retractable roof makes meeting energy and ventilation thresholds more challenging.
Numerous initiatives and studies were implemented throughout the process, ensuring that Miller Park will remain a leader in LEED qualifications. Of the initiatives, many involving efficiencies and recycling, a number go beyond into truly social responsible activities including:
- The Brewers and Sportservice donated over 7,000 pounds of food to area food banks & shelters in the last half of the 2011 season through the “Rock It and Wrap It Up” program (providing meals for 5,300 people to date).
- A Brewers “Green Week” eCycling event gathered over 40,000 pounds of electronics waste to be recycled.
- On June 22 of 2011, the Brewers hosted a “Plant a Tree” program in conjunction with WDNR. Over 7,000 spruce seedlings were distributed to fans as part of the program. In addition, the Brewers committed to planting one tree for every 20,000 tickets sold in 2011 (154 trees). All trees are being planted along the Hank Aaron State trail and will be native Wisconsin species. The program will continue in 2012.
It is inspiring to see prominent Milwaukee organizations from the Brewers and Johnson Controls to the others involved put their philosophies and efforts to an important and responsible, a Well-Met, initiative. The Brewers have always been a community-oriented organization, and that has continued – even increased – in the new ownership by Mark Attanasio, who despite being from Los Angeles has embraced Milwaukee and entrenched the Brewers as a leader in the community. This is just another example of the Brewer’s social responsibility and leadership in Milwaukee.