Nationals ParkHeading to a ball game soon? Take a look around – the outfield isn’t the only thing green about many professional baseball stadiums.

Professional baseball is a leader when it comes to building green stadiums. New stadiums in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and Miami have taken green to a whole new level.

In 2008, Nationals Park, home of the MLB Washington Nationals, was the first North American professional sports venue to be awarded LEED Silver Certification for new construction by the U.S. Green Building Council. The beautiful landscape around the park is made up of 100 percent plant materials that were specified to be drought resistant, eliminating the need for irrigation and increasing overall water savings. That is especially helpful when it comes to the 6,300-square-foot green roof above the concession/restroom area beyond left field. The green roof, primarily made up of a sedum mixture, helps reduce heat gain, lowers cooling demand, and captures rainwater.

Speaking of restrooms, Nationals Park is outfitted with water-conservation plumbing fixtures designed to save an estimated 3.6 million gallons of water per year and reduce overall water consumption in the park by 30 percent.

Another great example of a ballpark going green is Target Field in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins home field was LEED Silver certified for New Construction in 2010 and LEED Silver certified for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance in December 2011. More than 30 percent of the park’s materials were made from recycled content, even the foul poles. Building an almost 40,000-seat stadium produced enormous amounts of trash. So what did they do with all that rubbish? Of course they recycled it. Seventy percent of the construction waste was recycled throughout the build.

The most energy efficient ballpark of all may be Marlin’s Park. This LEED Gold rated ballpark is located in Miami?s Little Havana on top of the same site of the old Orange Bowl. This prime location epitomizes community connectivity and offers many options for alternative transportation. Feel like riding your bike to the game? Park it in one of the 300+ bike racks on site. And – no smoking. Not only can you not smoke in the stadium, you can’t smoke within 25 feet of it. If you make it to this park, take a deep breathe of fresh air and enjoy the fun-filled, energy efficient atmosphere.

Even renovations at the 101-year-old Wrigley Field in Chicago incorporate green strategies. For example, efforts are under way to reduce water usage through more efficient appliance and fixtures, and recycled materials are being used where possible.

With new stadium plans in the works or under discussion for at least three Major League teams – Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A?s – there’s plenty of opportunity to bring more green to the park.