Compared to other sports, hockey relies heavily on the ability to skate and play the sport outdoors. Many of the NHL’s players started their hockey careers by learning how to skate outside on frozen lakes and ponds. However, environmental issues, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, will severely limit these opportunities for future generations of hockey players. As a commitment to greater environmental sustainability, the League created the NHL Green Initiative. This infographic shows how the initiatives are changing the sports landscape.
Nearly all NHL facilities have reduced their energy consumption by implementing energy efficient lighting solutions. Many arenas started to replace the traditional metal halide system with LED lights. Since LED lights emit less heat than traditional lighting systems, they can keep the ice frozen longer and reduce wattage by about 75 percent. This results in a 90 percent energy savings across the system.
For example, Montreal’s Bell Centre implemented LED lights during the 2012-2013 season and saw a significant increase in energy efficiency. Although the facility’s brightness increased, the LED lights consumed 60 percent less electricity than the previous metal halide system. Each of the LED light fixtures was expected to last for 54,000 hours, compared to just 3,000 hours for each metal halide fixture. With a longer expectancy for each LED light fixture, NHL facilities can reduce their replacement costs, labor costs, and waste.
It takes between 12,000 to 15,000 gallons of water to form a hockey arena ice sheet. To reduce water consumption, several NHL facilities, such as the MTS Centre, now use reverse osmosis to purify the water used for the ice sheet. This process forms a harder ice surface than by treating the water with chemicals. Hard ice involves less refrigeration energy needed to maintain itself, conserving water and energy.
The NHL also contributes to water restoration efforts through its Gallons for Goals program. For every goal scored during the season, the NHL pledges to restore 1,000 gallons of water to a dewatered river in North America. Through the Gallons for Goals program, the NHL has donated 20 million gallons of water since 2011. That’s equal to over 6 million gallons of water donated each season.
Since 2012, the NHL’s purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets have prevented over 38 million pounds of carbon emissions. That amount is equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from 115,000 cars. The NHL’s acquisition of RECs is one of the largest pollution prevention initiatives done by any sports league. As a result of its commitment to renewable energy, the NHL became the first professional sports league to partner with the EPA Energy Star, Wastewise, and Green Power Partnership programs. Under this partnership, the NHL works with the EPA to purchase green power as a solution to reducing environmental impact.