As American as Baseball and Green Roofs

Posted in green roof, Jobsite Photos, News Link on April 2, 2010

Just a few short days away from another baseball season – a sure sign that Spring has arrived.  In Washington DC, President Obama will throw out the first pitch of the Washington Nationals season as they host the two time defending NL Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies, marking the 100th anniversary of the presidential first pitch.  Pretty sure he threw out the first pitch at the All-Star Game last year, so he’s got some experience throwing off the mound.

When the Washington Nationals opened their new stadium two seasons ago, they had the distinction of becoming the first pro-baseball stadium, and possibly first of any pro sport stadium in the country, to become LEED certified.  Starting with a brownfield and remediating the site, HOK Architects included whole slew of energy efficient features in this design build project.  But my favorite has to be the extra green out past left center.  In front of the left side parking garage, and above Base Line Brews and Hard Times Cafe.  Up above those concession stands, a little out of sight but definitely not out of mind, sit the extra, extra patch of green growing inside this stadium.  Not the sloped ‘turf area’ above the center field wall in the batter’s eye, though McDonnell Landscaping installed that as well.  This little treasure tucked into the stadium has no bearing on games, nor is it the backdrop for batters.  This is a good old fashioned, 6300 square foot extensive green-roof back up behind left center.  Hot dogs, cold beers, baseball and green-roofs; an American tradition, no?

This article has a great summary of the National’s Ballpark green roof project.  It all starts with McDonnell Landscaping Inc., and award winning commercial landscape company with the most impressive resume in the capitol.  McDonnell Landscape‘s award winning resume includes building some of Washington’s most prestigious projects. Since ’83 their portfolio includes: The White House, Jefferson Memorial, DC Nationals Baseball Stadium and The Lincoln Memorial, The National Mall, and more.  If there is a landmark or monument in or around DC, they’re probably the reason it’s got great landscaping.

John Fritz, Executive VP, shared some great photo’s of their unique green roof installation.  McDonnell installed some 75 cubic yards of rooflite extensive mc to complete the project.  rooflite extensive mc loading into wheel barrowsAs if a green roof inside a ballpark wasn’t a unique enough aspect of the project, the metal roof deck the system was being installed on would only support 25 pounds per square foot for the entire system. So in addition to utilizing the best lightweight engineered growth media on the market, the installation required some creative solutions.  As shipped, each super sack of media weighed in at about 2500 pounds each.  Obviously they couldn’t set 46 super sacks on the deck and spread them at their convenience.

rooflite ectensive mc on deck No, McDonnell could only have a crew of 8 on the roof deck at any given time, and even then they had to be tethered for safety despite being only 1 floor above ‘grade’.  McDonnell utilized a Putzmeister Telebelt to sling the rooflite® and ballast stone some 75 feet from the street to the roof.  Greenroof Plants provided by the experts at Emory Knoll Farm

Now the two time defending NL Champs are no environmental slouches themselves.  Their ballpark has a few more season’s under its belt than DC newest monument, and a few more pennants.  But the Phightin’ Phils have their own reasons to celebrate their green ways.  Red Goes Green is an admirable campaign, and it should not to overshadow another pro sports “green” first.  The Phillies purchased 20 million kilowatt hours of certified Green-e power for Citizen’s Bank Park.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the deal represents the largest single purchase of 100 percent renewable energy in professional sports and is equivalent to the planting of 100,000 trees.

So there you have it.  Green roofs – as American as Baseball and Apple Pies.

And about that presidential first pitch…  Do you think Obama will wear his Phils Jersey?

Oh, and that ‘turf” batter’s eye in Washington – the other unique landscape feature in the Nat’s Ballpark – McDonnel installed 5,800 square feet of Mondo Grass.  It’s not actually a grass though, it’s an evergreen sod-forming perennial that grows about eight inches high and never needs mowing. (Although it seems like the groundscrew rolls stripes into it)  John Fritz explained “It’s going to grow into a green carpet so batters will have a good background for seeing pitched balls”  You can get a good look at the mondo grass in this video from last season, courtesy of Jayson Werth.

Spring has sprung, the sedums are flowering.  Go Phils!