Former Brownfield Transformed to Low-Carbon Footprint Ballpark
Builder and real estate manager Ryan Companies has transformed what used to be one of the top 10 most contaminated brownfield sites in the Twin Cities into a public ballpark that features a host of environmentally sustainable features including recycled water and materials.
CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, home to the St. Paul Saints professional baseball club, is a 7,000-seat, open-air ballpark, and the first major sports venue to meet B3 Sustainable Building 2030 Energy Standards, which is an energy conservation program designed to significantly reduce the energy and carbon in Minnesota commercial, institutional and industrial buildings.
CHS Field is planned as the first major sports venue to reuse rainwater for field irrigation. Ryan Companies reused nearly all of the former Gillette warehouse building, reusing 20 percent of the building as foundational elements for the new ballpark, and recycling the remaining concrete on-site in the form of crushed material fill below the playing field.
Additional sustainable elements include:
- District Energy: CHS Field connects to the District Energy St. Paul system for heating and cooling loads. District energy is about 35 percent more efficient than traditional grid supply.
- Renewable Energy: Xcel Energy helped fund 100kW of solar arrays to supply 12.5 percent of the ballpark’s power.
- Field Lighting: Fixtures focus light on the field, reducing spill into adjacent areas and the total number of fixtures by 40 percent compared to Midway Stadium.
- Building Footprint: 80 percent of the interior spaces are below the concourse, requiring less open space and less energy to operate.
- Building Reuse: 230 foundation piers, 5,120 square feet of concrete wall, and 168,000 square feet of slab were reused in the ballpark.
- Recycled Materials: Virtually all concrete from the existing Gillette building was crushed and used as structural fill beneath the field.
- Reducing Waste: Ryan diverted 98 percent of construction waste from landfills. The Saints are introducing composting and recycling with the goal of operating a zero-waste facility.
- Indoor Environments: Low-VOC finishes and occupant-sensor lighting were used in all interior spaces. All offices and the press box have access to natural light and airflow.
- Site Transformation: 8.5 acres of contaminated, impervious site were transformed into almost 60 percent green space with an environmental cap to minimize contaminated runoff.
- Green Spaces: 135 trees and 138,000 square feet of natural grass, including the playing field, will remove 22.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.
- Community Connection: Part of the site was turned into a neighborhood dog park and rain garden featuring local artwork.
- Sustainable Transit: CHS Field’s urban location and walk score of 88/100 encourages fans to bike, walk, or use nearby bus and LRT line to commute to games.
- Clean Stormwater: Virtually all stormwater runoff is treated through sand filters, tree trenches, or rain gardens to remove pollutants before entering the Mississippi watershed.
- Water Reclamation: A 27,000-gallon cistern collects rainwater for reuse in toilets and field irrigation, saving up to 450,000 gallons of water each year.
- Responsible Use: Metered, dual-flush, and low-flow fixtures are installed in public restrooms and locker rooms to control water waste.
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