August 26, 2014
hockey puck on ice
With giant arenas, elaborate light shows, and larger-than-life Jumbotrons, professional sports are one of the last entities you expect to see scaling back in the name of going green. However, according to recent news, that may be changing. Last month, the National Hockey League (NHL) released a sustainability report to show that they recognize the immense impact their sport has on the environment due to its high demand for electricity. The league states that its most direct causes of energy demand are refrigeration, humidification systems, concessions, lighting, audio systems/technical displays, and HVAC.

Acknowledging this substantial energy output, the NHL states that increasing energy efficiency has become a top goal for their arena operators. According to the report, nearly a third of NHL arenas are voluntarily reducing their electricity demand to help prevent blackouts and alleviate grid vulnerability. The report explains, “The global ecological pressures we face today directly impact our sport. Therefore, we must remind the hockey community how connected our game is to the environment, and offer ideas and opportunities for fans and employees to choose a more sustainable lifestyle.”

We were pleased to read that the NHL has embraced another form of energy-efficient technology: solar power.

Of course, unless you’re on the roof of these arenas, you may not realize who has adopted new solar energy measures. For instance, some sports fans might be surprised to learn that the Staples Center, home of this year’s Stanley Cup champions the Los Angeles Kings, has 1,727 solar panels on its rooftop. The impressive 364-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system provides up to 20% of the multi-purpose entertainment center’s energy needs on a normal day and a portion of the power required to fuel it once game day arrives.

The NHL’s report adds that, “five NHL arenas now supply a portion of their power needs for the facility by using on-site solar power or lower-emission energy sources, such as biogas-fueled fuel cell technology.”

Hockey isn’t the only sport undergoing earth-conscious transformations. On July 1, 2014 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home to the world-famous Indy 500 event) opened its very own solar farm. The IMS Solar Farm is now the largest solar farm of any sports facility in the world, featuring a grand total of 39,312 solar modules. The solar modules can generate 9.0 megawatts of power, equivalent to offsetting 10,288 tons of carbon each year.

Solar is currently the fastest growing renewable energy source in the U.S. Obviously, as a solar energy provider, we are always excited about new developments in the world of solar; but we’re happy to see other industries discovering the large-scale benefits that solar power provides. It’s great to hear that several athletic leagues are embracing solar and we can only hope other organizations follow suit and the movement continues to grow.

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