SBD/October 9, 2013/Facilities

Pro Sports Leagues Beginning To Examine Use Of Energy-Efficient LED Lighting

Bell Centre in Montreal is the "only pro sports site in North America to use only LEDs to light its playing surface," and a big reason other arena operators have "resisted making the switch" is the payback period, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Canadiens Exec VP & GM of Facilities Operations Alain Gauthier last year replaced all of the older lights at Bell Centre "with 140 costlier light-emitting diode fixtures, or LEDs, which produce three times as much light on the ice for each watt of energy and last far longer -- an investment that he says will take only about two years to pay back." Gauthier expects to "save about $125,000 a year on electricity, parts and labor." Gauthier is "a lonely front-runner in sports lighting, though LEDs are gaining wider adoption in airports, stores and many other places." So-called performance lights "are the No. 1 or No. 2 consumers of electricity in arenas and stadiums." While prices "vary widely, LEDs cost about $1,500 each, roughly four times as much as incandescent lamps." Other factors "limiting adoption are more specific to sports." LEDs do "an excellent job of lighting specific locations, but illuminating wider spaces -- like baseball, football and soccer fields -- is more problematic." Sports leagues are "studying LEDs and gathering the opinions of players, referees and broadcasters." But teams have "varying priorities because their buildings vary by age and architecture." Nine NHL teams share arenas with NBA teams, and "each league has its own lighting rules." Leagues must "vet manufacturers for cost and reliability." NHL Dir of Sustainability Omar Mitchell said, "It’s something that is going to happen, it’s just a question of when we are going to release our standards" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/9).

GOING GREEN
: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL this week features an in-depth examination of sustainability, with looks at the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium, Amway Center, Nationals Park, Moda Center, Xcel Energy Center, college athletic programs, green-friendly marketing and athletes supporting green-related causes (THE DAILY).
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