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New Mets park a friend to environment

Mets park a friend to environment

NEW YORK -- The blue and orange are going green.

When the Mets begin play at Citi Field in April 2009, the stadium will be a glowing example of the magnificence of a 21st century ballpark. And to ensure that the future of New York City is just as bright, the Mets have teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement several environmental measures in their new home.

"We met with the EPA to seek their council in the development of Citi Field, and in the process, we met or exceeded their guidelines and standards," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said Thursday at a press conference at Shea Stadium. "We really have a collaborative effort with the EPA. We made great efforts to help protect and preserve the environment through a variety of design, construction and operational principles prior to the specific design features of Citi Field."

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Alan Steinberg, regional administrator of the EPA, said, "As an environmental official and a baseball maniac, it doesn't get any better than this. This memorandum of understanding the EPA has signed with the Mets underscores innovation and a comprehensive commitment toward sustainable development.

"The Mets deserve an environmental MVP for their efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and the waste stream from the construction and operation of their new ballpark."

The $800 million structure is being built from approximately 95 percent recycled steel to reduce energy consumption and at least 2 million pounds of recycled coal combustion products that will save more than 800 tons of carbon dioxide. The team's administration building will feature a 15,000-square-foot "green roof," which will reduce energy needs by retaining cool air in the summer and heat in the winter.

The new stadium will also contain low-flow plumbing features such as hands-free faucets and waterless urinals that will save more than 4 million gallons of water per year. Water conservation will also be achieved with the installation of an on-site well to be used for irrigation, as well as a 3,700-square-foot drainage bed to control the flow of storm-water runoff.

"It certainly would've been easier to build a new ballpark without incorporating green technology, but the Mets understand that their responsibility to New Yorkers doesn't end with the third out in the ninth inning," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "They've taken the initiative to be bold, innovative and environmentally responsible. Citi Field will be one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums ever built any place. It will help us build a greener, greater New York."

The Mets have also joined with the EPA to be part of their Energy Star program, which encourages environmental protection through energy efficiency, as well as a recycling program, which will include the Mets' food and beverage partner, ARAMARK.

As for the fans, getting to their new cheering sections will be easier than ever. The Mets are continuing to work with the MTA and Long Island Rail Road to increase the use of mass transit to games. Bloomberg said that additional train and bus service will be added for every home game in order to encourage fans to leave their cars at home.

"It is going to be difficult and sad to say goodbye to Shea Stadium later this fall, but it's really uplifting to see the Mets' new home, which is going to be something we all can be very proud of," Bloomberg said.

Steinberg added, "We know that Citi Field, with its green grass and green facilities, will make the National League and the entire American League green with envy."

Howard Kussoy is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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