NHL Responds to Climate Change

08/20/2014 |

Hockey takes a shot at energy efficiency

Sustainability report

The National Hockey League has taken a proactive step towards mitigating the effects of climate change in releasing the 2014 NHL Sustainability Report. Partnering with the National Resource Defense Council, the NHL outlines and highlights areas where energy use could be reduced and mentions four strategies that various member clubs have implemented to reduce energy usage effectively:

1) Reducing demand – In addition to planting vegetation around stadiums, clubs have also applied reflective, low-emissivity, and white treatments to dark surfaces that radiate heat towards the stadiums and increase cooling costs. By reducing the energy needed to keep the stadiums at the correct temperature, NHL venues are able to reduce their usage without compromising the comfort of players and fans.


2) Increasing efficiency – The main focus of the initiative has been on increasing efficiency in areas such as lighting, HVAC, and dehumidification. By upgrading to newer, more efficient models and using systems such as occupancy and daylight sensor controls, water reduction measures such as zero-water urinals, and building management systems, NHL venue managers have been able to provide significant return on investment while reducing carbon emissions.


3) Deploying on-site alternative energy – By conducting full reviews of financial incentives and return on investment for systems such as solar, geothermal, and deep-lake water cooling, five member venues now supply part of their own energy needs with renewable energy.


4) Advancing dehumidification – Keeping a regulation ice sheet requires humidity to be carefully controlled, which can cause an excess load on the ice-refrigeration system. By using desiccant humidification systems, some NHL venues have been able to reduce the energy used to maintain the ice, though the report is quick to point out that such systems come with a significant initial investment.

“The report’s focus on controlling fossil-fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions is a mainstream wake-up call that climate disruption poses an existential threat to everything we hold dear, including sports and recreation,” says Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist and head of NRDC’s Green Sports program. 

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