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ONTARIO, CA-The lights, the cameras, the action–they’re not just found in Hollywood, they’re found in every major arena in the world. And they use a lot of power. Even so, arenas around the globe are attempting to go green either through energy management or in their design and construction. The result is saving energy and other resources.

Home to Ontario Reign hockey and other events, the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA, was 15 years in the planning prior to its 2008 opening, so it was not constructed by the City of Ontario with sustainability in mind. However, when Los Angeles-based live entertainment facility operator AEG Worldwide was brought in to manage the building, going green became a priority.

“AEG has a sustainability department and is trying to reduce the carbon footprint,” of their arenas, says Sue Oxarart, the arena’s director of marketing. “We’re certainly trying to save water, and are doing everything we can do to be energy efficient. We said, ‘Let’s start managing this and going toward LEED certification.’”

That is particularly challenging given that the arena has offices operating during the day, followed by events at night. Fluorescent lighting is used throughout, with electronic rather than magnetic ballasts. Low voltage lighting relays control the sequence and operation of task, general and event lighting. Variable speed drives are installed on all air handlers and one chiller, and HVAC components have variable frequency drives, meters and other monitoring technology. A compactor is powered by solar energy.

During ice hockey season, curtains remain closed to retain the cool air, though it also means that employees going through the area wear coats indoors. And for four hours in the afternoon, the company turns off most electricity.

“In California, energy costs go up during normal business hours,” Oxarart explains. “We don’t turn the lights on. Every little bit helps.”

As a result, the company hopes to save up to 20% of annual energy costs. Other sustainability efforts encompass saving water, recycling and green cleaning. AEG retrofitted the arena with waterless urinals, saving over 40,000 gallons of water annually. Other water-saving features include metered and sensored faucets in all restrooms.

All cardboard and wood pallets are recycled separately, and concessionaire Levy Restaurants also recycles its glass and plastic. Offices inside the arena have recycling containers as well as trash. Green cleaning products are used throughout, and maintenance staff use microfiber cloths rather than paper towels to clean.

“We’re doing the smaller efforts, and also trying to encourage the general public through signs,” Oxarart says.

Citizens Bank Arena is not the only sports facility to utilize green maintenance or even building techniques. Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands is intended to be a sustainable structure, with a focus on reducing energy usage, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Bowdoin College Sidney J. Watson Arena, dedicated on January 18, 2009, was the first newly constructed ice arena in the United States to earn coveted LEED certification. The Philips Arena in Atlanta and American Airlines Arena in Miami have achieved LEED Silver status for their operations.

Upcoming projects also are pursuing sustainability: the Showare Center in Kent, WA also is pursuing LEED Silver certification. And green arenas soon will have the largest audience of all. The future site of the 2010 Olympic speed skating competition in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, is using prematurely harvested timber–due to a pine beetle infestation–for its roof, helping it qualify for LEED Silver certification.

And others likely will follow. AEG has installed solar panels on the Staples Center and Nokia Theater, and has made a commitment to sustainability.

“Although AEG cannot go ‘green’ overnight, we are committed to a thorough assessment of our operations and the development of tools and resources to assist all AEG venues and events on the path toward sustainability,” AEG says on its website.

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