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Tuesday March 11, 2008 10:22 AM

Going Green

Rockets launch 'It's Time to Go Green' environmental campaign

HOUSTON -- The Rockets are going green.

During the month of March, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and his franchise are teaming up with several local agencies across Houston to raise environmental awareness with the "It's Time to Go Green" campaign.

Through this initiative, Alexander, the Rockets and Toyota Center are supporting several local environmental groups and encouraging fans across the city to be Earth-friendly.

The campaign kicks off on Sunday, March 9, when Rockets forward Shane Battier and guard Aaron Brooks will join the University of Houston Environmental Club, HLS Enterprises, the Parks & Recreation Department, the Boys & Girls Club (Key Stone Club), Friends of Emancipation Park, AsakuraRobinson Associates and Gregg Elementary to plant trees in Emancipation Park as part of the “Keep Houston Beautiful” campaign. Alexander and the Rockets are planning to “Adopt-the-Park” from the Houston Parks and Recreation Department as well as the five blocks on Elgin Street from Chartres Street to Dowling Street from Keep Houston Beautiful to keep the city's streets clean for one year.

In addition, the Rockets are holding an online contest for fans to show their green thumbs on Rockets.com. Fans can submit a photo showing what they’re doing to create a better environment. The top entries will have their photos posted on the site and receive a voucher for two tickets to the game.

The campaign will culminate with the Rockets’ home game on March 24 against the Sacramento Kings. The Rockets’ Environmental Awareness Game supported by Waste Management will feature promotions and information on how fans can help create a cleaner Earth.

Waste Management, H-E-B and Direct Energy will provide fans with Earth-friendly tidbits at the game. Before tip-off and throughout the game, fans will be able to view hybrid cars from Toyota on the launch pad and learn ways to improve the environment by visiting several booths throughout the concourse. On top of that, fans that drive a hybrid car to the arena will be able to park inside Toyota Center's Tundra Garage for free.

Clutch, the Rockets' mascot, will join the festivities by undergoing a makeover. Rather than showing off his traditional gray and white fur, the Rockets' super-sized bear will be sporting a new green look for the game. He'll be green from head to toe.

During the game, fans will receive a game program printed on recycled paper from Classic Printers. The Rockets and Classic Printers are planning to print the programs on eco-friendly paper for the remainder of the season. 

The month-long campaign is part of the Rockets' ongoing efforts to promote an eco-friendly environment.

Toyota Center currently has several initiatives in place to reduce its impact on the environment. Recycling measures have been in place for some time, which have made significant reductions. These reductions amount to anywhere from several thousand pounds of pollution not being introduced into the atmosphere to thousands of gallons of water not being wasted.

Through Alexander’s passion and guidance, Toyota Center has reduced overall electrical usage by more than 1.5 million kilowatt-hours over the last two years. This has been accomplished through the expense of retrofitting the building with high-efficiency lighting, modifications to operations for events and utilizing local entities for support in retro-commissioning practices.

Toyota Center has plans to gain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Certification. The certification recognizes new and existing facilities throughout the nation for being eco-friendly. This type of certification measures all aspects of a building, ranging from local access to public transportation, water/gas/electricity reductions, recycling efforts and even cleaning materials used for housekeeping and maintenance.

Alexander and the Rockets are hoping their “It’s Time to Go Green” campaign in addition to their efforts at Toyota Center will promote a cleaner city and greener Earth.

For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department's Adopt-A-Park program or any of the department's greenspace adoption programs visit www.houstonparks.org