HUBEE Volume 4 No 9 (September)

Volume 4, Issue 9

Shoot to score! New 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for ice/curling rinks is here!

Shoot to score! New 1-100 ENERGY STAR score for ice/curling rinks is here!

Natural Resources Canada is pleased to announce that we have launched ice/curling rinks as our seventh building type eligible to receive a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score. Benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager can help you set priorities for your ice/curling rinks. By measuring how your facility compares with other similar facilities across Canada, you will be able to identify poorly performing facilities, spot opportunities and build a sound business case for targeted investments that will reduce energy costs.

To learn more about benchmarking and energy efficiency for ice/curling rinks, see our Technical Reference Guide for ice/curling rinks [PDF – 778 KB].

Energy benchmarking and the City of Mississauga’s ice plant optimization pilot

City of Mississauga community centres and arenas make up 24 percent of the municipality’s annual energy consumption, making them ideal candidates for energy efficiency initiatives.

Through a successful energy reduction pilot, The City realized annual savings of more than $39,000, (more than doubling original estimates) without compromising ice quality.

The city plans to continue its energy- saving initiatives, including benchmarking with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Among municipal facilities, community centres, ice rinks, pools and arenas are some of the highest energy consumers.  In the City of Mississauga, community centres and arenas make up 24 percent of its annual energy consumption, making these municipal facilities ideal candidates for energy efficiency initiatives.  This municipality has made a pledge of sustainability and are leading by example by continually seeking opportunities to save energy and reduce the impact on the environment.

In November 2016, Mississauga's energy management team conducted a pilot project at “Iceland Arena” to determine how refrigeration equipment optimization could reduce consumption and costs. By researching government and industry documents for guidelines on how best to conduct the pilot project and to determine best practices, the team estimated that they could reduce electricity use by about 5 to 10 percent by optimizing equipment and schedules.  At first, ice rink supervisors were reluctant to make changes because if something had gone wrong and ice quality had been compromised, the rink staff would have been on the front line of complaints.

The pilot project was a success.  Between November 2016 and July 2017, Iceland's refrigeration plant electricity consumption decreased by 22 percent in the winter weeks, more than double what had been expected, with annual savings of more than $39,000, all without compromising ice quality.  The team built upon the success of the pilot project by implementing another similar project at the municipality’s Hershey Centre where refrigeration plant optimization provided a reduction in peak demand by almost 100 kW and about a 10% drop in compressor run-hours.

Once the pilot project results were collated, the team asked their project champion - Michael Blazenko, Supervisor of Operations, Iceland Arena to make a presentation to other municipality arena supervisors. Blazenko’s presentation made a greater impression, because arena managers viewed the information as coming from one of their peers. In fact, once the results were shared, everyone wanted it for their rink.

Monitoring, tracking and benchmarking assisted the City of Mississauga to identify no cost and low cost saving opportunities. The city plans to use NRCan’s energy benchmarking tool – ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to support its energy reduction goals.

Selected highlights of the City of Mississauga’s energy reduction efforts:

Co-winner of the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority's Town Hall Challenge and winner of the Living City Energy Efficiency Award, 2015.

Recognized as one of the top performing participants as part of the Save on Energy program.

The city has targeted a 5% energy intensity reduction by 2019, and has already taken important steps to move in a more sustainable direction with the ultimate goal of making Mississauga a net zero carbon city.

The full case study will be posted on our Case Studies: Canadian Circle of Champions page shortly! Stay tuned.

SaskPower's Municipal Ice Rink Program

Many utilities offer audit and incentive programs to reduce energy, but SaskPower's Municipal Ice Rink Program (MIRP) is one of the few utility programs in Canada that specifically targets energy efficiency for hockey arenas and curling rinks.

Saskatchewan has among the highest, if not the highest, per capita rates of ice and curling rinks in Canada, and with community centres across the province facing ever-increasing energy costs, SaskPower saw a need in the market.

MIRP offers financial incentives for energy-efficient equipment and installations, customized incentives, walk-through audits to assess equipment and operating practices, and information about other energy saving opportunities, including Operating Efficient Rinks, a best practices guide for arena operators.

Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club before retrofits.

Marty Lelliot, program consultant with SaskPower, said that "Communities had been coming to us because they're cash-constrained and were wondering if we could provide relief, so in terms of customer relations, MIRP is rather unique," he said. To date, about 100 MIRP audits have been done, and communities have access to the MIRP incentives as well as SaskPower's other initiatives, such as the Commercial Lighting Incentive (CLI) program.

Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club

Lighting was already on the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club's radar. "Curling Canada told us we had the darkest curling rink in Canada!" said John Toner, director of the club. When they saw a promotion for MIRP, they jumped on it.

Two SaskPower energy consultants conducted a walk-through of the club. "They gave us recommendations and also told us how we compared to other facilities in Saskatchewan. We were actually pretty good,” said Toner. The auditors' main recommendation was a lighting retrofit, a relatively low-cost project with a quick payback. The retrofit was financed through a combination of CLI rebates, Curling Canada's grant program, the club's capital improvement fund and fundraising activities, and in-kind donations of volunteer labour to remove the old lighting and install the new fixtures.

Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club after retrofits.

"We replaced 360 T8s and eight halide lights with 42 high-bay LED light fixtures," said Toner, adding that the light intensity above the curling surface increased from 16 foot candles to 36 foot candles. "It was a huge change for users. When we turned them on everyone noticed the difference!"

Annual maintenance costs of $4,000 to replace tubes and ballasts have been eliminated. "When we first replaced the lighting, I compared the bills after the first few months, and at that time we were saving about $600 on monthly electricity costs of $5,000," he said. His most recent estimates, which haven't yet been normalized for weather, show a reduction in power consumption and demand of between 2 and 12 percent during the curling season, on monthly costs of $7,000.

Torquay Arena

The Torquay Arena also had a MIRP audit done. Once again, lighting was found to be the biggest energy saving opportunity. The arena's metal halide lights, which could take fifteen minutes or more to come to full brightness, were switched for LEDs.

Davin Emmel, part owner of Dart Services, the company that installed the new lighting, said that lighting costs are a big part of the budget for smaller rinks. "The local rink is always struggling to keep the doors open, so we wanted to investigate the program."

Users benefit from better lighting quality and no more waiting for the lights to come up to full.  "Unlike in large cities, the lights were turned on and off several times a day," explained Emmel. "The new LEDs come on right away. "

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for ice/curling rinks

Ice/curling rink owners and operators can now join the benchmarking movement to measure their energy use and identify areas to improve. This fall, ice/curling rinks have become the seventh building type to be eligible for a Canadian ENERGY STAR score. Because of the high energy demands of creating and maintaining ice surfaces, energy management is particularly important for these facilities. The new score will give ice/curling rink managers a powerful tool to help them understand their energy performance, which is the first step to improving it. For more information, please visit What’s new with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

People matter: How social marketing can increase energy efficiency gains in ice rinks!

If you're involved with energy efficiency in any capacity, chances are you've heard some variation of this: "You can throw all the money and equipment you want at a problem, but if your staff isn't behind you, you're not going to see the savings."

Burlington, Ontario, used CBSM to engage operations staff to reduce energy at the city's ice rinks.

Through observations and informal surveys, energy management staff found that operators feared that changes in procedures would mean more work for them, or that complaints about rink conditions would increase. It also wasn't clear to operations staff how their behaviour affected energy consumption.

These barriers were addressed by creating standard operating procedures for all rinks, providing customized energy management training workshops to all operations staff, and holding a "road show" to promote the program and its benefits to other city staff.

Cumulatively, the eight rinks cut energy use by 9 percent, with two rinks achieving energy savings greater than 15 percent. Not only did comfort levels for users improve, but equipment was better maintained, which

In a nutshell: people matter. Their attitudes and behaviours can make the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful energy project. But how do you convince people to change their ways?

Community-based social marketing (CBSM) is a simple five-step process for fostering changes in people's behaviours, and was developed by Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr, an environmental psychologist, in the 1990s. CBSM aims to change people's behaviours by understanding their motivations, emphasizing direct contact and removing barriers. It also provides a set of "tools," which have been tested and found to be effective at changing behaviours. Some of these include prompts (cues to remind people to do an action), obtaining a commitment (asking for a pledge to do the behaviour) and incentives (financial or other rewards for taking action).

Jay Kassirer, a founding director of the International Social Marketing Association and the Social Marketing Association of North America, has more than 23 years' experience with CBSM programs and practices, and has contributed to many health and energy outreach programs, such as those offered by Green Communities, BC Hydro, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He is also the founder of Tools of Change, one of the largest publicly accessible collections of detailed behavioural energy efficiency case studies worldwide. The collection's Landmark case studies are peer reviewed by a panel of energy experts.

"One of the biggest contributions of CBSM is the focus on community and peer-to-peer support," said Kassirer. "Connections don't necessarily need to be face to face—that's a great approach, but it can be expensive—you can also phone people, send personalized emails, use social media. There are many different ways that community members can reach out to each other."

Kassirer shared his tips on how to use CBSM effectively.

"The most important point is to select the behaviour or behaviours you want to change," he said. Although this may seem like an obvious first step, Kassirer said that it's often not done in a systematic manner, despite the fact that this choice can greatly influence what the program achieves. Some program organizers may also promote too many behaviour changes, which can overwhelm people.

"Once you've decided on the behaviour or behaviours you want to change, you need to determine related barriers and benefits and understand and address the audience's motivation," Kassirer said. If you want people to turn off lights and equipment at the office, you need to know why they aren't doing it already. Perhaps they think that the office cleaners will do it, maybe they've never thought about it, maybe they think that such a small action isn't worth the effort.

CBSM offers a set of synergistic tools that can help develop the strategy, but Kassirer cautioned that it's worth paying attention to a couple of associated pitfalls.

"Program organizers may hear that prompts or asking for a commitment are good tools to use, but haven't checked if people actually want to do the behaviour," said Kassirer. "You have to keep the audience's motivation in mind. If they haven't decided to do the behaviour yet, when you get to delivering the program, those tools won't work."

Similarly, financial incentives can sometimes hamper efforts.  Although they can be effective in one-time programs—such as rebates for electric vehicles—they aren't well-suited to actions that are ongoing, like energy efficiency. "You have to be careful that incentives don’t undermine intrinsic motivation," said Kassirer. "The most successful incentives are tied to specific objectives." 

The last steps involve piloting, implementing, and evaluating the program, and just like many energy efficiency projects, CBSM is an ongoing process—you don't just do it once. The most successful strategies begin with a pilot program to test concepts and methods; the lessons learned from the pilot stage are then incorporated into the full program implementation.

"The best CBSM programs are ones that are continually coming up with and testing refinements," said Kassirer. "They're always trying out different methods to reach and better engage with different audiences, and testing out new tactics, even once the program is up and running."

Community-based social marketing is a simple but highly effective way to increase energy efficiency returns. By focusing on your people and what motivates them, identifying the barriers to the desired behaviour, and designing programs to overcome those hurdles, any organization can encourage more energy-efficient behaviours over the long term.

Let us know what you think

Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency is published by Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency and distributed monthly to 16,000 subscribers. Our goal is to deliver meaningful news and information about programs, services and events related to energy efficiency in commercial and institutional buildings and, as well, to share the success stories of organizations that have benefited from positive change. Help us spread the word by sending this link to your colleagues. We encourage you to subscribe to our sister publication that focuses on energy efficiency in industrial facilities, Heads Up CIPEC.

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