Last Friday, the Minnesota Ballpark Authority took the first step toward working to accomplish something no other American stadium can claim. Yes, the MBA passed a resolution authorizing its executive director to submit applications for grants and other activities in association with the Twins to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new Twins-Hennepin County ballpark. To date, no other U.S. ballpark or stadium has obtained this prestigious certification putting the MBA and the Twins in position to break new ground as it relates to building an environmentally friendly facility.
Established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is now the benchmark for integration of environmental elements within building projects. To gain certification, a project must reach a certain point level based on a variety of building factors (materials, energy use, transit, etc.). The Twins-Hennepin County ballpark legislation provides that ?if the authority obtains grants sufficient to cover the increased costs, the authority must ensure that the ballpark receives LEED certification.?
Understanding we have a long way to go to determine the feasibility of securing grants, let alone gaining LEED certification, the Twins organization is genuinely excited at the prospect of working hand-in-hand with the MBA and Hennepin County throughout this process. With or without LEED certification, the Pohlad family and Twins organization have long been intrigued at the opportunity to build an environmentally sustainable facility. It?s exciting when you consider the opportunity to not only use environmentally friendly construction materials and procedures, but to also determine the possibility of creating a district heating system using waste heat from the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) and other sustainable design features as part of the overall ballpark project.
As Minnesotans, we know firsthand the importance of prioritizing environmental issues. To that end, the Twins are committed to building an environmentally friendly ballpark. It?s the smart thing to do – but more importantly ? the right thing to do.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins
New Ballpark Idea of the Week ? In the land of ten thousand lakes, we should definitely have a water feature in our new stadium. One idea might be to have some kind of lake stocked with native fish, or there could be a foot bridge similar to Pittsburgh?s stadium crossing over a Minnesota state-shaped lake in front.