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Sports facilities can consume large amounts of energy, from heating and cooling, ventilation, electronics, lighting, and other appliances. By increasing the efficiency of these energy consumers, your sports departments and institution can save money while simultaneously improving environmental performance.

Visit the federal government’s Energy Star products database for listings of the most energy efficient products on the market, for a wide range of product categories. Also consider including Energy Star and energy efficiency specifications in contracts and requests for proposal. Contract language examples and additional product specifications can be found at the EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database.

EPA’s Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) can also help you specify cost-competitive, high-performance, and environmentally preferable computer desktops, laptops, and monitors.

For a list of energy efficiency incentives and rebates in your state, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

Calculate savings from energy-efficient products.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

  • When buying an appliance, always try to buy one that is certified by EPA’s Energy Star program.
  • If Energy Star does not rate the particular appliance, purchase the most efficient model feasible.
  • Look for other energy saving features such as programmability and power-save functions.
  • Many products continue to use energy, even when they’re turned off. Look for products that use as little energy as possible while in “off” mode.
  • Plug appliances into a power strip instead of directly into the wall socket, so that you can easily turn off all energy demand from multiple appliances at once when they are not in use.

SAMPLE LETTER TO CURRENT SUPPLIERS

Dear _______,

[Our department/institution] has initiated an effort to improve our environmental performance in all aspects of our operations. We would like to meet with you to discuss these objectives in more detail. We would also like to discuss ways to cost-effectively switch to more efficient products within the next few years

Energy use is one of the principal contributors to air pollution and global warming. By reducing our consumption of energy, we can reduce these impacts and save money at the same time. We would like to reduce as much as possible the harmful effects associated with our sports facility operations, and we would like to speak with you about more efficient alternatives to the energy consuming products that we are currently using.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that we can organize a meeting time to discuss this further.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

Energy use is one of the largest environmental impacts in any facility, and also one of the greatest costs. Most energy consumed in the United States comes from coal and other fossil fuels, which contribute significantly to global warming, smog, soot, and numerous negative health conditions. In addition, coal mining – especially surface mining and mountaintop removal – is devastating many of the world’s most biologically important habitats and ecosystems.

Reducing energy use can have a positive impact on all of these factors and will also have a beneficial impact on the bottom line, and one of the best ways to reduce office energy use is to buy products that use less energy. EPA’s Energy Star program rates electronic products on energy use and grants their seal to those products that meet their standards.

*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*

Conducting energy audits of your sports facilities can help your institution earn points within the “Energy” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). It can directly contribute to earning 6 points for the credit “OP 8: Building Energy Consumption.” Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.

COLLEGIATE SPORTS EXAMPLES

In 2010, University of Minnesota Athletics staff partnered with UM’s energy management department to complete an energy recommissioning study of eight existing athletic facilities. The study revealed so much energy-saving potential that energy conservation measures were implemented in all eight athletic facilities, yielding more than $412,000 in avoided utility costs annually for Minnesota Athletics. Many of the upgrades had payback periods of less than one year. For example, though TCF Bank Stadium was the newest building on campus in 2010, the operations team still saved over $130,000 from recommissioning.

“Some of the original controls’ programming and design used more outside air on non-event days, thus increasing our steam consumption. We took a detailed look at our sequencing and partnered with the energy management’s team to identify those variations and modify mechanical automation controls accordingly, resulting in savings for the facility of $131,000 in energy costs each year,” says Derek Hillestad, director of operations at TCF Bank Stadium.

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

The University of Connecticut’s Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center became the NCAA’s first LEED-certified building when it was completed in the summer of 2006. UConn Athletics achieved LEED Silver certification for the football complex by incorporating a variety of environmentally preferable features into the venue design. The energy-efficient features have helped the facility cut energy use by 35 percent below 1999 ASHRAE standards, saving $35,000 to $40,000 per year. To learn more, read the full feature in the NRDC Collegiate Game Changers report.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS EXAMPLES

The Miami HEAT’s energy efficiency initiatives have enabled the AmericanAirlines Arena to consume 53 percent less energy than the average facility of similar size and use, according to Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager. This saves the HEAT $1.6 million each year.

“We spent $1,594,309 during the 2008 calendar year. If we ran the AmericanAirlines Arena at the current national average, we could potentially be spending approximately $3,010,000 annually on energy consumption each year,” explains Jackie Ventura, operations coordinate for the HEAT Group.

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.

Between 2007 and 2012, the St Louis Cardinals cut Busch Stadium’s energy use by 23 percent—down to 161.2 kBtu per square-foot from 211.8—after normalizing for weather. This saved the team more than $300,000 in energy costs between 2007 and 2010. According to EPA EnergyStar, this puts Busch Stadium at an energy performance level that is 39 percent better than the national average for entertainment buildings (265 kBtu/sq. ft./year).

“When it comes to stadiums and sustainable operations, reducing energy use is the place to start,” says Abernathy. “The cost of energy to run a stadium is typically 15 to 20 percent of our total stadium operations budget. So when we were able to reduce our energy use by 23 percent, it had a significant impact on the bottom line—for us, saving up to $150,000 annually. It all starts with knowing what your energy consumption is.”

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.

Through numerous energy efficiency efforts between 2006 and 2011, the Seattle Mariners saved approximately $1.5 million in utilities costs (electricity, natural gas, water and sewer) by reducing natural gas use by 60 percent, electricity use by 30 percent and water use by 25 percent at Safeco Field. The team replaced its old incandescent bulb scoreboard with a new LED scoreboard, which lowered annual electricity consumption by more than 90 percent (from 1.2 million kilowatt-hours to 130,000 kilowatt-hours) and reduced energy costs by $50,000 per year. Energy initiatives have resulted in an average annual energy savings of $298,500 per year, with savings as high as $350,000 per year, compared with expenditures in 2006.

“It was all low-cost, easily achieved things,” says Scott Jenkins, former VP of ballpark operations. “Mostly better use of automation, better discipline in turning things off when they’re not being used, really low-cost stuff like aerators on faucets, weather stripping on doors, some upgrades on the controls. And lo and behold, that $100,000 I wanted to save turned into $275,000 in the first year.”

To learn more, read the full case study in the NRDC Game Changer report.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
AASHE STARS 2.0 Technical Manual
Energy Star
EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Database
U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficient Appliances and Electronics
New York City – Manual for Quality, Energy Efficient Lighting
Environmental Benefits and Cost Savings Calculator for Purchasers
Energy Star Savings Calculators
Climate Savers Computing Initiative
Consortium for Energy Efficiency