In order to offset the carbon footprint created by the club's utility power usage at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies announced on Wednesday afternoon that they have purchased 20 million kilowatt hours of Green-e Energy Certified Renewable Certificates (RECs). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is the largest single purchase of 100 percent renewable energy in professional sports and is equivalent to the planting of 100,000 trees.
The Phillies are the first Major League Baseball team to join the EPA's Green Power Partnership program, which is a voluntary program encouraging organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The EPA pointed out that the Phillies are now the third-largest Green Power Partner in Philadelphia and the seventh-largest Green Power Partner in Pennsylvania.
This initiative was announced jointly by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter., Phillies president David Montgomery, John McHale, Jr., executive vice president, administration & chief information officer for MLB, Don Welsh, regional administrator for the EPA and Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"This is such an important initiative and will benefit everyone involved," Rendell said. "It's so vital to preserve our environment and make it stronger. Think about all the ketchup and mustard packets, for instance, that people use and throw away into the containers every night. We're going to replace those packets with dispensers. With 81 home games and all the food consumed, that will save so much. I think the Phillies are a shining example of how to step up and take the lead here."
Additionally, this initiative also reinforces MLB's "Team Greening Program" and its commitment to support and coordinate the many environmentally sensitive practices at each ballclub, created in partnership with the NRDC.
"It's a huge announcement, very huge," said Hershkowitz. "The Phillies' commitment we hope will set a major example for all people in Philadelphia to follow what they've done here. There are so many threats connected with global warming that the average person may not fully realize. By the Phillies doing what they did [Wednesday], it's a huge step in the right direction."
McHale echoed similar thoughts.
"It is a huge announcement," McHale said. "It's a great thing the Phillies are doing and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see some of the other clubs follow similar steps."
Some of the steps involved in the initiative include:
The recycling of frying oil to be used as bio-diesel fuel; recycling glass, plastic and cardboard generated from game day preparation and sales; recycling of cardboard, paper, fluorescent lamps, plastic, aluminum and glass bottles; utilizing environmental-friendly cleaning products as well as a bio-enzyme which eats grease trapped in kitchen drain pipes; and re-using rain run-off water for landscaping and field irrigation.
The Phillies will continue to build fan awareness by having the players wear green caps for Wednesday night's game against the Padres.
"The green caps look good, don't they?" Rendell said. "I like them."
One hundred fans arriving at the ballpark were scheduled to receive Red Goes Green cards, a one-year credit to secure clean renewable energy for their home consumption, compliments of the Phillies and WindStreet Energy. Fans are invited to go to www.phillies.com/redgoesgreen for tips on how to make the environment a better place. Green tips will also be posted on the scoreboard during each game at the ballpark.
"The impact this will have is monumental," Hershkowitz said. "This is just the start of an initiative which will be so positive for so many people. It's needed, which makes it even better."
Montgomery wouldn't divulge a dollar figure associated with the initiative, but he called it "significant."
"It is a significant number, but we don't exactly know what it is," Montgomery said. "We're not sure how much it's going to run. When you're in, you're in. We decided it's the right approach to take. We're excited to join MLB in bringing the awareness to fans about the environment and how to be more conscious about it.
"This is only the beginning, and we hope we can continue to find ways to raise awareness and help in any way we can to make the environment more friendly, especially for fans who come to the ballpark. We take a lot of pride with a project of this magnitude."
Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.