Petco Park becomes California’s next green stadium

June 1, 2016

When the nation's best baseball players arrive in San Diego for this year's All-Star Game, they'll get to know one of the league's newest top performers – Petco Park. On May 17, Energy Upgrade California awarded the Padres organization with its Stay Golden Energy Leadership Award, recognizing the club's commitment to bringing its ballpark up to speed with the latest energy-efficient technology, SD News reported. 

"The Padres' industry-leading dedication in the sustainable operation of Petco Park sets an example for all Californians to follow," Jean Vreeland, marketing and channel integration manager for Energy Upgrade California, told SD News.  "Whether it's the home of the Padres or the home you live in, we all can take real action to use less energy and reduce our carbon footprint."

"LED lights will help the Padres cut energy use by 40 percent."

While there are a number of green upgrades underway at the park, the most notable is a complete overhaul of the stadium's lighting system, reported SD News. By illuminating the field with the latest LED technology, the Padres will be able to cut their energy usage by as much as 40 percent. By the time the All-Star Game gets underway this July, 95 percent of the lights in the facility will be LEDs. 

The Padres have also established successful recycling and water conservation programs at the stadium. All together, the organization's sustainability efforts have built it a serious case for being considered Sports Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal, according to the news publication. 

‚ÄčA pattern of excellence
The Padres' award comes just a few months after its neighbor to the north, Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, hosted Super Bowl 50. Home to the San Francisco 49ers, the LEED Gold certified stadium is one of the country's most sustainable, thanks in large part to its emphasis on energy efficiency.

In addition to using LED lighting throughout the facility, Levi's Stadium softens its demand on the grid with its "Green Roof," a garden on top of the suite tower that reduces the amount of energy that escapes from the building. Plus, on-premise solar panels can collect enough energy to power the stadium for all 10 home games, SI.com reported. 

Levi's Stadium represents a new breed of sports stadium, one that sees energy efficiency as an opportunity for excellence, says David Cooper, president of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, the engineering company that designed Levi's Stadium.

"Sustainability is definitely gaining strength, gaining steam," Cooper told SI.com. "We are seeing it across multiple sectors – sports as well – as an attractive point, a selling point."

As the first LEED-certified NFL stadium, the 49ers' home turf serves as a model for new sports construction, while the Padres' efforts at 12-year-old Petco Park demonstrate just how effective upgrade programs can be when energy conservation becomes a priority.