By Edward Cardenas

BROOKLYN (CBS Detroit) – Michigan International Speedway is shifting its green efforts into a higher gear by becoming the first facility in motor sports to join the EPA’s Green Power Partnership.

The Speedway, which is located on 1,400 acres of property in the Irish Hills, has undertaken a number of environmental efforts in recent years including recycling items including plastic bottles, aluminum and asphalt; having a hybrid pace car and wetlands conservation at the facility.

Under the new partnership, MIS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumers Energy, will work together to improve the environment throughout the track and its campground, according to officials, by working together to develop wind, solar and renewable energy at the track as well as identify ways to cut energy usage for the speedway.

“This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis said in a release. “Using green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk.”

MIS is also one of the first sporting venues in the country to join the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and offset its energy use from green power. According to Curtis, there are only 1,300 companies nationally who have joined the partnership.

According to track officials, MIS uses nearly five million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization’s electricity use. Working with Consumers Power, 78 percent of the energy is supplied by wind and 22 percent is supplied by landfill gas.

The EPA reported that the facility’s green power use of nearly five million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 700 passenger vehicles per year.

“EPA’s Green Power Partnership is excited to welcome Michigan International Speedway as the first NASCAR track to join the Partnership and applauds the speedway for using 100 percent renewable energy, ” Green Power Partnership Program Manager Mollie Lemon said in a release. “Complementing the racetrack’s other sustainability initiatives, their green power commitment helps to reduce the speedway’s carbon footprint and provides an excellent example for other sports organizations.”

MIS and Consumers Energy will also work to develop wind, solar and renewable energy at the track while looking for ways to cut energy usage for the facility. Additionally, MIS and Consumers will plant more than 3,000 trees in Michigan for the two race weekends.

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