Published on December 22nd, 2014 | by Adam Johnston4
NHL Releases Carbon Neutral Energy Plan
December 22nd, 2014 by Adam Johnston
The National Hockey League (NHL) released its carbon neutral energy plan this week, with Constellation as its official energy efficiency partner.
Constellation will give the NHL Renewable Energy Certificates and carbon offsets during this season, worth over 550,000 metric tons. That’s like taking off the grid 50,182 US homes in a single year.
Around 75% of league energy use comes from electricity. Heating and air conditioning, concessions, lighting, audio/video displays, humidification systems, and refrigeration make up the league’s electrical use.
Constellation will aid the NHL with:
- Overseeing yearly energy audits for all 30 NHL teams, and head office
- Scrutinizing all facility operations
- Proposing plans on bettering energy efficiency across the league
- Backing renewable energy sources for use
- Helping with acquiring more eco-friendly materials and equipment
- Suggesting alternative transportation methods when needed
- Promoting recycling and waste reduction
NHL plans promoting energy efficiency during the Winter Classic, All Star Game, Stadium Series, and Stanley Cup playoff during this season.
Gary Bettmen, NHL Commissioner, acknowledged the NHL’s support of smarter league-wide energy use.
“Our sport was born on frozen ponds and relies on winter weather. Everyone who loves our game will benefit by taking an active role in preserving the environment and the roots of the game,” said Bettmen.
“Hopefully this partnership will influence other businesses and fans alike to embrace renewable energy options which are so desperately needed to protect our planet,” said Green Sports Alliance President Dr. Allen Hershkowitz.
This is not the first major green plan the league has introduced this year. This past summer, the league released a sustainability report. This was a first of its kind for any major professional sports league in North America. The report detailed how teams are contributing to environmental sustainability.
For example, on energy use, the Minnesota Wild uses wind energy purchases to offset electricity usage at all home games at Xcel Energy Center. The Los Angeles Kings have a 364-kilowatt solar system, which provides 20% of the Staples Center’s energy on non-game days, and a smaller fraction during game day.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets offers employees a yearly ride-your-bike campaign as part of employee wellness. It’s expected this project will cut 4,000 pounds of carbon emissions during the first two years.
Ice hockey is symbolic with winter in Canada and many northern US states. A study released this year suggests climate change threatens outdoor hockey in some areas of Canada, especially southern Ontario, Quebec, southeastern British Columbia, and the Prairies.
Perhaps maybe it’s symbolism of changing winters and fan’s support of green efforts which is driving the NHL towards a sustainable development path. Sure, cynics will scoff at this, suggesting this will not do a lot. However, as major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup and the Super Bowl are helping to educate the general public more on sustainability, without efforts like this from the NHL, the challenges of getting towards a greener world become much more difficult.