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12/13/11 11:37 AM EST

Target Field earns LEED Silver Certification

Less than two years after Target Field was named the "Greenest Ballpark in America" by the U.S. Green Building Council and earned LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certification for New Construction, the Twins have become the first professional sports franchise to also attain LEED Silver Certification for the operation and maintenance of their facility.

According to a club statement Tuesday, LEED is the nation's most widely recognized and accepted green building rating system and Target Field's latest certification helps building owners measure operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts.

The Twins' new home opened in downtown Minneapolis in 2010 after 28 seasons at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

"The Minnesota Twins organization believes our future success -- both on and off the field -- is built on a business model that embraces operational efficiency, environmental stewardship and social responsibility," Twins president Dave St. Peter said in the statement. "We're proud to have earned LEED certification for the operation of our facility and will continue to seek ways to improve the sustainability of Target Field."

The certification is awarded based on independent, third-party verification of performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

According to the release, the club's sustainability programs include:

• Capturing, purifying and reusing more than 686,360 gallons of rainwater in 2011, drastically reducing the use of municipal water, through a custom-designed Rain Water Recycle System provided by Minneapolis-based Pentair.

• Keeping more than 1,762 cubic yards of waste out of local landfills through an aggressive recycling and waste-to-energy program.

• Reducing the use of electricity by 12.1 percent, despite adding a new video board in right field and additional radiant heating units in the concourses.

• Donating more than 7,500 pounds of unused food, along with concession partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice, to local charities during the 2011 season, thus also keeping that waste out of local landfills.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.‬ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.