Preserving the Environment

This Professional League’s Goal: Be Carbon Neutral

December 31, 2014
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This Professional League’s Goal: Be Carbon Neutral
The NHL plans to cut and offset carbon emissions from the upkeep of arenas and offices, air travel, light and video displays, and more. Jared Polin/Flikr
Forget the ice, the NHL is going green.

Ice, sticks, screaming fans and the occasional fist fight may be what comes to mind when most of us hear about the National Hockey League (NHL). In between all that, though, the NHL has been focused on reducing its environmental skate print on the world.

Working with the energy-services firm Constellation, the NHL has developed a plan to cut its carbon emissions for all 30 teams and its main office. Starting the 2014-2015 season, Constellation will provide Renewable Energy Certificates to offset emissions and promote clean energy projects, which will total about 530,000 metric tons of carbon, an amount that’s equivalent to 50,182 homes and eliminating 115,000 cars.

According to the National Journal, the league’s emissions come from the upkeep of arenas and offices, the 2 million miles of airspace traversed by the teams, concessions, light and video displays, among many others. To reduce the NHL’s dependency on electricity, Constellation has developed a plan to target areas needing improvement, reports CleanTechnica.

Every year, the NHL files energy audits for every team and the main office, which Constellation will now review. Furthermore, the firm will look for ways to improve facility operations and create a streamlined, efficient energy plan. Acting as a consultant, Constellation will also advise the NHL on alternative transportation and eco-friendly materials and equipment.

Education and promotion is also a goal, and Constellation will work to spread the word about recycling and waste reduction.

“Our sport was born on frozen ponds and relies on winter weather,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman tells National Journal. “Everyone who loves our game will benefit by taking an active role in preserving the environment and the roots of the game.”

This isn’t the NHL’s first environmentally-friendly move. A sustainability report (the first ever by a sports’ league) was released in July outlining each team’s sustainable behavior and ways that the practices could be improved. All of these efforts are a continuation of the NHL’s Green Program which was launched back in 2010 promoting environmental awareness.

For president of Green Sports Alliance Allen Hershkowitz, it’s the sports world responsibility to use its influence to dive into green issues.

“Thirteen percent of the public follows science,” Hershkowitz tells The Guardian. “Seventy-one percent follow sports. It’s an enormously visible part of our society.”

MORE: Introducing the Country’s First Hospital System to Achieve Energy Independence

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