Customers & Community

Hockey Arena Scores Major Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

3 min read

For one night during the 2015-2016 National Hockey League (NHL) season, Johnstown, Pa., became known as “Kraft Hockeyville™ USA.” As the home of the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League, Cambria County War Memorial Arena had never been used for an NHL game, although it had earned recognition in the hockey world as the setting for the original motion picture “Slap Shot.” 

Originally open to only Canadian rinks, the Kraft Hockeyville™ competition solicits bids from communities demonstrating their commitment to the sport of ice hockey. Featured as the location for a preseason NHL game, winners receive $150,000 in arena upgrades and refurbishments with support from Kraft, the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA.) 

Here’s the story of how Constellation enabled this arena to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 336,838 pounds and saved an estimated $30,000 in energy costs each year through energy-efficiency upgrades. 

The Challenge

The Cambria County War Memorial Arena was selected in May 2015 to be featured in a September 2015 nationally broadcast pre-season NHL game. It required major upgrades in lighting to be able to telecast the game. Under significant time and financial constraints due to the scope of upgrades and the limited capital dollars allocated as part of the Kraft Hockeyville™ program, the arena needed an energy services provider to manage the lighting design and project implementation required to host NHL clubs and fans alike.

The Solution

As the NHL®’s preferred energy provider, Constellation’s efficiency experts were given the opportunity to perform an energy-efficiency analysis on the arena. They identified opportunities to implement upgrades to both the sports and general lighting within the facility. Following the comprehensive energy analysis, Constellation’s team worked with the NHL® and other partners, including local channel partner SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions, to update the arena’s lighting fixtures. 

Cambria County also agreed to a new, cost-effective, five-year power contract with Constellation that provided the necessary capital to complete a switch to energy-efficient game and facility lighting with no upfront capital dollars. This was made possible through Constellation’s Efficiency Made Easy® (EME) program, which funded the cost of the lighting upgrades and allowed capital dollars to be preserved for other improvements at the facility.

With less than four months to make the necessary improvements to meet rigorous NHL® facility and television broadcast standards and energy consumption principles, Constellation worked swiftly with Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s local operations and engineering teams to implement the upgrades in compliance with existing policies and procedures. 

The Results

The improvements were completed on time and in accordance with NHL® facility and sustainability standards and objectives. On Sept. 29, lit by 48 new LED fixtures providing 110-foot candles of light, the War Memorial Arena made its NHL debut, where the Pittsburgh Penguins® faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning®.

The new energy-efficient LED game lights reduce glare, improve game presentation and visibility for players and eliminate the warm-up time required with the old metal halide system.

While not required to televise the game, Constellation also converted approximately 700 other fixtures throughout the facility to LED lighting, further improving the efficiency of the War Memorial Arena. 

Highlights of the project included: 

  • Replacing interior 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures with 48 600-watt LED Sportslighter fixtures that provide up to 110-foot candles for more consistent lighting on the rink.
  • Upgrading nearly all the more than 700 interior lighting fixtures to long-life LED fixture and conversion retrofits.
  • A new wiring grid providing light level specification and the ability to control the entire system.
  • Improved switching options for functions, including emergency lighting, setup and cleaning, amateur and high school leagues and collegiate and televised events.
  • Monthly EME payments that will be offset by significant energy and maintenance savings and reduced kilowatt-hours rate from a new commodity contract.

The project resulted in: 

  • An estimated annual energy savings of $30,000.
  • Energy savings expected to eliminate 336,838 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 32 cars off the road, according the U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator.
  • Energy usage reduction of up to 25 percent expected due to reduced cooling demand in the rink arena, thanks to reduced wattage of new fixtures.
  • Five-year electricity price certainty lower than previous three-year rates, providing budget predictability and savings based on total facility usage at new lower fixed rates.

These upgrades and efficiency improvements will serve Johnstown and Cambria County communities for many years to come, providing the potential for hosting additional televised and collegiate games as the arena’s lighting now meets NCAA standards. Constellation’s partnership in support of the War Memorial Arena will stand as a leading example of energy efficiency in the sports industry as well as showcasing the NHL and Constellation’s joint commitment to improve environmental and financial sustainability within hockey. 



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