The court is green, the ball is green, and now the tournament is green as well. United States Tennis Association officials announced Monday that they would implement “green initiatives” at the 2008 U.S. Open to make the tournament one of the first green sporting events in the tennis world. Partnering with NRDC, Evian, Lexus, IBM, and Constellation Energy, the USTA incorporated green initiatives such as:

Song Haven

Louis Armstrong Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Photo: wallyg.
  • Partnering with NRDC to distribute 100,000 wallet cards containing eco-tips on how to be more environmentally friendly.
  • Partnering with Evian Natural Spring Water to launch a plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling program with the opportunity to recycle more than 500,000 plastic bottles and 20,000 aluminum cans.
  • Constellation Energy, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s electricity supplier, will supply Green-e certified wind Renewable Energy Certificates to match the electricity consumption during the 2008 U.S. Open.
  • Lexus, the “official vehicle of the U.S. Open,” will provide player transportation services during the event with hybrid vehicles comprising 20 percent of the overall fleet.
  • Promoting mass transit by launching a MetroCard Fan Giveaway in partnership with NRDC. Each day during the two-week event, 100 fans will win a $4 MetroCard to encourage the use of public transportation to and from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
  • IBM, which powers USOpen.org, last year reduced the number of servers it used from 60 to nine, and this year is consolidating the number of servers to six, further reducing energy consumption and cooling demand.

Spokesperson for the green campaign, Billie Jean King said, “We are taking a big step with the home of the U.S. Open becoming one of the first in the tennis community to take significant action to positively impact the environment.”

The wallet cards [PDF] are printed on recycled paper also certified by the forestry stewardship council and feature “green” lifestyle tips such as recycling and machine dishwashing — according to NRDC you can save 6,500 gallons of water annually just by leaving the work to a machine.

While most of USTA’s green measures are pretty standard “greening” fare, the hybrids fall a bit short. According to fueleconomy.gov, the best fuel mileage that any 2008 Lexus hybrids gets is about 25 miles-per-gallon combined (the model years of the hybrids were not specified). Also, IBM scratched all those servers last year, but the resultant energy savings registered about 23 percent — certainly not snubable, but not nearly as dramatic a reduction as 60 to nine.

The U.S. Open began on Aug. 25 and will run through Sept. 7 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens, New York.

See below the fold for a full list of green initiatives, courtesy of the NRDC.

Green Initiatives at the 2008 U.S. Open

Fan awareness

  • Partnering with NRDC to distribute 100,000 wallet cards containing eco-tips on how to be more environmentally friendly.
  • Public Service Announcements featuring Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Venus Williams, and Bob and Mike Bryan will be played on video boards and USOpen.org.
  • Eco-tips — featuring a newly-designed U.S. Open green logo reminding fans to reduce, reuse, and recycle — will be promoted in the U.S. Open program, the Daily Drawsheet, USOpen.org/USTA.com and video board messaging.
  • Billie Jean King will serve as spokesperson for the awareness campaign to promote environmental consciousness among U.S. Open fans, players, vendors, partners, and sponsors.
Song Haven

2008 U.S. Open organic cotton t-shirt designed by Heidi Klum.

Recycling

  • Partnering with Evian Natural Spring Water to launch a plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling program with the opportunity to recycle more than 500,000 plastic bottles and 20,000 aluminum cans.
  • More than 80 Evian receptacles will be located in easily accessible and highly visible areas on the grounds to make recycling easy for fans.
  • Following the U.S. Open, approximately 20,000 Wilson tennis ball cans will be recycled. The 60,000 Wilson tennis balls used during the U.S. Open will be reused for NTC programming and then donated to community/youth programs.

Energy management

  • Constellation Energy, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s electricity supplier, will supply Green-e certified wind Renewable Energy Certificates to match the electricity consumption during the 2008 U.S. Open.
  • IBM, which powers USOpen.org, last year reduced the number of servers it used from 60 to nine, and this year is consolidating the number of servers to six, further reducing energy consumption and cooling demand.

Transportation

  • Lexus, the “official vehicle of the U.S. Open,” will provide player transportation services during the event with hybrid vehicles comprising 20 percent of the overall fleet.
  • Promoting mass transit by launching a MetroCard Fan Giveaway in partnership with NRDC. Each day during the two-week event, 100 fans will win a $4 MetroCard to encourage the use of public transportation to and from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Paper procurement

  • The 2.4 million napkins used by U.S. Open patrons in the general concession area during the tournament will be comprised of 90 percent post-consumer waste.
  • The official U.S. Open program and the Daily Drawsheet and U.S. Open marketing material will be printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council — guaranteeing environmentally responsible forest management.
  • Various U.S. Open information pieces, from the tournament guide to the grounds map to the Daily Drawsheet, will be printed on paper containing 30 percent post-consumer waste — more than 103,000 printed pieces and 330,000 Drawsheets are distributed during the event.

U.S. Open Merchandise

  • Heidi Klum and Billie Jean King will design two of the 100 percent organic cotton t-shirts featured as part of the overall U.S. Open Collection. Additionally, the collection will feature hats comprised of 50 percent post-consumer waste — each hat will contain the equivalent of two one-liter plastic bottles.
  • A portion of the proceeds from the U.S. Open organic collection will be donated to Unisphere, Inc., the non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and preserving Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the U.S. Open.
  • U.S. Open merchandise stores will feature a new souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple uses with a “recycle and reuse” message printed on the bottom. In addition, a reusable tote bag will be available for $5.