Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition

The following case study explores how the City of Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition employed a low cost, easily replicable approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gases, and energy costs at eight ice rinks across the city. Before the launch of the competition, the City of Burlington conducted audits of all eight facilities as part of their city-wide energy management plan, identifying opportunities for energy reduction and calculating estimated increases in performance if more attention was paid to utility consumption. Using this data, energy management staff set a goal for all facilities to reduce their energy consumption by 15%, and, to make the competition fair, created baselines for each ice rink by adjusting for weather and use factors. Observations and informal intercept surveys provided energy management staff with information on current barriers to reducing consumption, helping to create standard operating procedures for each rink that were presented to staff at five energy management workshops. Throughout the competition, information on energy reduction was visible on the city’s website, signs were put up at each ice rink to remind staff of energy reducing behaviors, and television monitors at some facilities advertised the competition on a continuous loop. Program impact was measured by comparing utility bills from the months the competition ran to bills for the same months from a year prior to the competition, adjusting for any variances due to weather and facility utilization. Overall, facilities saw a 9% reduction in electricity and natural gas consumption, as well as a 24% decrease in water consumption.

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