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04/22/08 7:58 PM ET

Rays adopt energy-efficient practices

Club's environmental committment won't end with Earth Day

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though the Rays played their home game vs. the Blue Jays at Disney World on Tuesday, the club plans on giving back to the Tampa area, and like most Major League teams, have a large environmental push under way.

To kick off the program this month, the Rays purchased Green Tags, carbon credits for renewable energy, from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to offset the carbon dioxide produced by fans traveling to Tropicana Field, and all energy consumed at Tropicana Field on Opening Day.

"We believe in an ongoing commitment to sustainability within our own business operations, including practices that promote energy and water conservation, and reduce, reuse and recycle waste," said Brian Auld, the Rays' senior vice president of business operations. "We will make a positive impact on our environmental footprint and we are committed to serving as a community role model for environmentally responsible initiatives."

The Rays also are purchasing Green Tags to offset the carbon dioxide produced by all Rays employees traveling to and from work throughout the year, and six additional game nights. The purchase of Green Tags supports the development of renewable energy on power grids, solar power systems for schools and public buildings, wind-power systems for farms, ranches and communities, and watershed restoration to improve water quality and native fish habitat.

But that's not all the Rays management is doing in their efforts to become environmentally friendlier.

Auld said minor adjustments such as the Clean-Up Hitters Program, a group that collects and recycles bottles from fans during the sixth inning to minimize waste, and bike racks installed outside the field to encourage alternate transportation, have received enthusiastic responses.

"It just makes sense," Auld said. "It's one of those things people like to do and if you make it easy, they are excited about doing it. We just want to make Tropicana Field as efficient as we can."

And that includes employing a cleaning company that uses environmentally friendly chemicals, concession stands stocked with biodegradable cups, and energy efficient lighting throughout the Rays' home park.

"More than anything, it's a statement that we are trying to do something [for the environment]," Auld said.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.