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Redbirds go green: new report highlights environmental initiatives at Busch Stadium

(Courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals are highlighted in a new report that features environmental initiatives by the professional sports industry.

The report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council describes efforts by sports leagues, teams, and venues to save energy and water, and reduce waste.

The vice president of stadium operations for the Cardinals, Joe Abernathy, says even though Busch Stadium was built relatively recently, the team has reduced energy use there by 20 percent since the stadium opened in 2006.

“We’d spend close to – well, almost $2 million a year in providing energy we need to run this building,” Abernathy said. “So, you know, with that 20 percent savings over that five years, it’s approaching a half-million dollars that we’ve been able to save over that period of time.”

Abernathy says among other energy saving measures, the Cardinals have fine-tuned the heating and cooling system at Busch Stadium and installed energy-efficient lights.

The Cardinals have also cut water use by 10 percent, according to the report.

Abernathy says the team has also launched a comprehensive recycling program.

“I looked at the numbers just for this month: we’re about a 35 percent diversion rate,” Abernathy said. “That is, 35 percent of the trash that we generate actually is now recycled instead of going to local landfills.”

The latest addition to the stadium is a small solar energy array, which Abernathy says the Cards are using to educate fans about renewable energy.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience