Sunday, September 7, 2014

Renewable Energy vs. Energy Efficiency

No, not the same thing.  
Yes, both very important.

Teams, stadiums, and leagues across the country -- and around the world -- are using a mixture of energy efficiency measures, on-site renewable energy, and renewable energy certificates to clean up their energy portfolios.

Webster says:

Renewable energy (RE): energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power.  A subset of which is Green Power: energy from sources that produce electricity with an environmental profile superior to conventional power technologies and produce no fossil-fuel based greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy efficiency (EE):  a way of managing and restraining the growth in energy consumption. Something is more energy efficient if it delivers more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input.

Having worked in the EE industry for a few years now, I would be remiss not to say that in many cases, energy efficiency should be the first thing you tackle.

Whether you’re working with a stadium, arena, or single-family home, do what you can to use the least amount of energy so that you won’t need to produce (or purchase) as much to cover your usage.   Otherwise, it’s still like letting money fly out the window, just a different window open at a different time...

However, if the cost of that energy is not what you’re most concerned about, then when your electricity is coming from renewable, green sources like wind and solar you can use all you want with little worry about effects on the environment.  So as Allen Hershkowitz of the NRDC said at the 2014 Green Sports Alliance Summit, “Have all the night games you want”!

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A couple of football energy facts:

On a typical NFL game day, roughly three to seven megawatts of electricity are used in and around the stadiums.  It takes TEN megawatts of energy to power Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium (now -slowly- testing out LED field lighting!) on game day, which is significantly more than the entire electrical capacity of the country of Liberia.

According to one study of the English Premier League, the average soccer match in England has a carbon footprint of 5,160 metric tons, equivalent to the energy consumption of half a million gallons of gas or enough to power 772 American homes each year.