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Home Field: Oriole Park At Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards is an iconic, game-changing stadium known as “the ballpark that changed baseball forever” — the team even trademarked the phrase! The stadium, now 30 years old, earned this accolade for its innovative, influential design, which evoked baseball’s past while incorporating local elements and modern amenities. Camden Yards also has been an environmental leader due to the impressive work done by the Baltimore Orioles and park operators, the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA).

The first acts of sustainability were building the stadium at the abandoned Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad freight yard and incorporating the old B&O Warehouse Building into the right field wall instead of demolishing it. A significant sustainability push began at the ballpark after MSA achieved a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for Operations and Maintenance from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013 for its other facility, M&T Stadium. It is home to the NFL’s Ravens. 

In 2013, MSA and the Orioles launched the “Go Green” initiative that included using only green cleaning products, going with paperless tickets, and making Camden Yards a smoke-free facility.

However, people could still smoke outside the stadium, so MSA placed several cigarette receptacles outside Oriole Park by the B&O Warehouse. Over five years, more than 125,000 butts were recycled and turned into plastic pellets used in manufacturing products like plastic crates, while the tobacco was composted

Photo Courtesy Cristian Geurrero

Air pollution also was addressed with the addition of a designated bicycle parking area with a capacity for more than 100 bikes. The stadium later added E-vehicle charging stations for the 2017 season. Furthermore, MSA promotes mass transit since the ballpark is close to local bus, subway, and light rail spots. Together with stadium concessionaire Delaware North, MSA and the team expanded its composting program and introduced eco-friendly concession plates and cups. Delaware North and the Orioles also started the “seed to fork” Greener Field project with local produce growers to increase the use of sustainably grown food at Camden Yards.

A thorough green makeover of Oriole Park at Camden Yards commenced in the mid-2010s. Nearly 60% of the materials bought for the remodeling were sustainable, and almost three-quarters of the construction waste was recycled.

Products low in volatile organic compounds were used during the renovation and continued afterward, reducing pollutants and improving the air quality.  

The utility management systems were upgraded during the renovation, leading to more ecologically efficient operations. The switch to LED lighting cut energy consumption by over half from their prior lighting system. At the same time, installing low-flow water fixtures and waterless urinals dropped water usage by more than 25%. Aided by an improved single-stream recycling system, around 800,000 items are typically recycled annually at Camden Yards. Oriole Park recycled almost 40,000 pounds of materials in 2020, and fans weren’t allowed into the park due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, nearly 10,000 gallons of cooking oil each year get processed into biodiesel. 

In 2016, MSA and the Orioles formed another fruitful partnership. Working with the National Aquarium, the National Wildlife Federation, and its Maryland state affiliate, they created a native plant garden at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Named Oriole Garden, the green space provides a lovely outdoor place for the community to enjoy and offers a home for butterflies and birds — like the oriole. In 2021, the team celebrated Earth Day with a revitalization program of the garden. Volunteers helped remove an influx of invasive plants, and visitors can learn more about the space and its habitat through signage added to the site.

Photo Courtesy Carrie Stary

Earth Day represents a momentous day for MSA and the Orioles organization. It was on Earth Day 2018 that they revealed that Oriole Park at Camden Yards received a Gold LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance. The stadium was the first existing ballpark to receive a Gold certification and was the oldest to get this honor. 

Making this triumph even sweeter was that the B&O Warehouse earned a Silver LEED that day. During the announcement, Orioles Executive VP John Angelos stated that “the Orioles organization will continue to prioritize protecting human health, plant-based, and organic food sources, and the environment that the next generation will inherit,” and the team has lived up to its words. On Earth Day 2022, the Orioles participated in a volunteer effort to clean up the waterways at Baltimore’s Middle Branch Park, located about 2.5 miles from the ballpark. 

Photo Courtesy Hannah Busing


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