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05/19/2008 11:46 AM ET
Red Sox unveil solar hot water panels at Fenway Park
Panels will replace 37% of gas traditionally used for heating water, will also avoid 18 tons of CO2 emissions
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BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox today formally unveiled solar hot water panels on the roof at Fenway Park. The panels, which will help heat water used throughout the facility, are part of a series of environmentally-sustainable practices that have been implemented at Fenway Park this year. The Red Sox worked on this initiative with National Grid, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Red Sox are the first team in Major League Baseball to have a solar thermal system at their ballpark.

"The Red Sox have a duty and responsibility to help protect and preserve the environment and to help keep the Fenway neighborhood clean and green," said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "The installation of solar thermal panels is the next step in our commitment to endeavor to make America's Most Beloved Ballpark one of America's greenest ballparks."

The 28 solar panels were installed from May 7 through May 12 on the roof of the fifth floor media level, overlooking the ramp and elevator shaft, and will be fully operational this week. This site faces almost directly south, with only a few hours of the winter solstice when the site is shadowed and the solar exposure is highly desirable. This location is also a close proximity to the water heaters in the mechanical room on the roof, and energy captured by the panels can be easily delivered to this equipment.

The energy generated by the panels will replace more than a third of the gas traditionally used for the process of heating water at the park, saving both energy and expense. Fenway's average daily water heating load is approximately 3.1 million BTU. The maximum daily solar panel thermal energy production will be approximately 1.1 million BTU, or 37% of the current load.

According to Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the installation of the panels will also help avoid 18 tons of Carbon Dioxide or CO2 emissions each year. Offsetting 18 Tons of CO2 is the environmental equivalent of planting 4.86 acres of trees, not driving a car for 43,611 miles, or off-setting the CO2 produced through natural gas use from approximately 4 average U.S. homes annually.

The type of solar hot water panels being installed are the GOBI line of solar flat-plate collectors which are one of the industry's highest-rated. Over 30 years of design and engineering refinement have gone into making it a world-class performer for heat output, efficiency, and durability. The panels are manufactured by Heliodyne Incorporated of Richmond, CA. The panels were installed by groSolar, a leader in solar energy systems, and a minority-owned New England company based in White River Junction, Vermont.

Under the direction of the Red Sox ownership, the club is actively engaging sponsors, local groups and the fans of Red Sox Nation to help execute a five-year plan to bring "green" practices to Fenway Park. New greening initiatives at Fenway Park in 2008 include: installation of solar powered 'Big Belly' trash compactors around the park; creation of the Poland Spring Green Team, the first of its kind in professional sports, to collect plastic soda and water bottles from fans during games; placement of 75 recycling bins throughout the park; the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices in the front office, on the field and in the ARAMARK concession stands and restaurants; and finally the installation of solar panels to reduce energy requirements for heating water.

About National Grid: National Grid conducted a location feasibility study in 2007 and recommended the installation of solar hot water panels on the 5th level roof at Fenway Park. They also provided financial support for the Fenway project. National Grid is committed to the protection and enhancement of the environment, always seeking new ways to minimize the environmental impacts of their past, present, and future activities. As an organization, National Grid believes that everyone is responsible for good environmental performance as they incorporate environmental considerations into all their business activities.

About Bonneville Environmental Foundation: The Red Sox were advised on the solar thermal panel project by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit organization. Established in 1998 to further the development and use of new renewable energy resources and restore watershed ecosystems, the BEF funds projects that support new renewable energy projects from solar, wind and biomass and restore damaged watersheds. Revenues generated from its sales of Green Tags directly support additional new watershed restoration and renewable energy projects such as the national Solar4RSchools program. More information is available at www.greentagsusa.org and www.b-e-f.org.

About Natural Resources Defense Council: The Red Sox partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council last fall and through this relationship have made great strides in their efforts to adopt environmentally-sustainable practices and educate both their fans and the entire organization about the importance of being green. NRDC has played an important role in the solar thermal panel project and will be conducting an environmental awareness/Greening 101 presentation to the entire Red Sox Front Office. NRDC is one of the nation's most effective environmental action groups. Their mission is to safeguard the earth: its people, its plans and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
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