The National Hockey League is blow- ing a whistle on climate change.
With facilities ranging from 410,000 to
1 million square feet, it takes an enormous amount of energy and water to
sustain these ice arenas. Partnering with
the National Resource Defense Council,
the NHL’s 2014 Sustainability Report
highlights strategies that improve efficiency without sacrificing fan and player
The NHL estimates its carbon footprint is approximately 530,000 metric
tons of greenhouse gas emissions per
year, which is emitted from events,
business activities, and air travel (fan
transportation is excluded).
Systems such as refrigeration and
humidification equipment concessions,
technical displays and audio systems,
HVAC, and lighting are the primary
The report outlines four strategies that
member clubs are leveraging to improve
1) Reducing Heat Island Effect – In
addition to planting vegetation around
stadiums, clubs have applied reflective,
low-emissivity, and white treatments to
dark surfaces that radiate heat towards
facilities, which lowers cooling costs.
2) Decreasing Operational Loads –
Increasing efficiency for lighting, HVAC,
and dehumidification offers many op-
portunities to shave off kilowatts. These
NHL Responds to Climate Change
Hockey takes a shot at energy efficiency
include off-the-shelf technologies such as
occupancy and daylight sensor controls,
waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures,
building management systems, passive
cooling, envelope sealing, and ceiling-
mounted downdraft fans.
3) Install Alternative Energy – Teams
can take advantage of utility and tax
incentives to supplement their electricity
usage with renewable power. Five member venues are currently using renewable energy, including solar, geothermal,
biogas fuel cells, hydro, co-generation,
and deep-lake water cooling.
The NHL also purchases environmental
assets such as renewable energy certificates (RECs), carbon offsets, and water
restoration certificates. For example, the
New York City headquarters counterbalanced 100% of its electricity usage in
2012 and 2013 with Green-e Energy RECs
from U.S. wind projects.
4) Advancing Dehumidification –
While humidity must be carefully
controlled to maintain a regulation ice
sheet, this can cause an excess load on
the ice refrigeration system. Desiccant
humidification systems are more efficient
than traditional air handlers and cooling-based systems. They deliver dry air into
the arena while allowing outside air to be
introduced into the facility. Some models
also use waste heat from refrigeration
compressors, rather than natural gas or
steam, to regenerate the desiccant wheel.
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THE NHL IS EARNING SUSTAINABILITY POINTS by improving efficiency at league
facilities. Key initiatives include reducing the heat island effect from parking lots and
building envelopes, drawing from clean energy sources, improving system efficiencies,
and switching to desiccant humidification.
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