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How to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Sports Complex

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Running a sports complex is not an inexpensive endeavor. There is an array of operating and overhead costs to account for. When you are running a building of this size, one of the most significant overhead costs is your energy bill. In fact, energy costs can account for up to 15 to 20 percent of your operating budget. Luckily, with the right upgrades, this sizeable expense can be reduced. Today in the SFA SFM blog, we will be looking at some of the ways you can reduce your energy expenditure and save money for your sports complex.

Implementing Energy-Efficient Measures

Ideally, you will implement energy efficiency measures when you are building your sports complex. In the early planning stages, you can make the choice to use energy-efficient technologies and sustainable products that make sense for your budget.
Although energy-efficient technologies often have higher upfront costs, they are well worth it in the long run. You can implement these technologies later, but it is much easier and less expensive to include them in the original construction of your facility. By making smart facility planning decisions now, you can maximize the returns on your investment in energy efficiency.
If you manage an existing sports complex or recreation center, you have fewer options, but that does not mean you are out of luck. It will be more expensive to replace your existing technologies than it would have been to implement them first, but if it can fit in your budget, it will be worth it. Before you do anything, have an energy audit performed on your facility. This will help you identify areas to focus on in order to reduce energy use and costs.

Resources for Energy Efficiency

The federal government has an Energy Star program that offers many resources to help you reduce energy output and associated costs at your sports complex. Your individual state will also have rebates and incentives, so make sure to look into what is offered in your area. Not only does using the Energy Star program help save you money, but it also helps to reduce your impact on the environment.

Energy Star Appliances

You can save significantly on your electric bill by choosing modern appliances that are in good working order. If you are in a position to purchase new appliances for your sports complex, choose Energy Star equipment for better efficiency.

Heating and Cooling Systems

If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it is probably time to consider replacement. This will improve efficiency and eliminate the risk of expensive mechanical failure, helping to balance out the cost of upgrading your equipment. HVAC systems are often Energy Star rated, so look to those first when trying to find the most energy-efficient option.

You should also seriously consider using smart thermostats. A large facility like a sports complex will have different spaces that need to be heated or cooled appropriately. A smart thermostat can learn what the best temperature is for different times of day and set itself to adjust for optimal operation. This means that staff members and guests will not have to worry about adjusting the air conditioning at your facility.
Programmable thermostats are a good alternative, but most people do not know how to program a thermostat for peak energy efficiency. A smart thermostat eliminates this guesswork, saving you money and time.

Lighting and Energy

Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescents. This will result in cost savings and better lighting for staff and guests. LED lights are also a good choice for your sports complex as they are very energy efficient and have a long life.
Keep in mind, LED lights have a higher initial cost, so you will have to budget for that. However, with the amount of energy you have to dedicate to lighting, it can be well worth the investment. Not only that, some areas offer incentives for installing LED lighting, so make sure to look into that when researching your options.
Motions sensitive lighting is a smart cost-saving measure, so use this whenever possible so that lighting is on only when needed.


You can save energy by increasing insulation in hot water tanks, walls, and ceilings.  If you have single-pane windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows. Solar shades on your exterior windows can also cut energy usage dramatically. Like many of the items in this article, the energy savings you receive will help pay for your new upgrades in the long run.

Exercise Equipment

Modern exercise equipment is now being developed that requires less energy to operate. Some equipment is now available that can even be powered by the person using the machine, with no electricity needed. Treadmills and stationary bikes exercise equipment options can be connected to the electricity grid, generating free energy anytime someone uses your exercise equipment.
Guests will be interested in the novel and sustainable features of your modern facility, and they will feel great about joining and supporting your sports complex. Many modern exercise machines even tell users how much energy they save, which can be a lot of fun for guests.

Exterior Ideas for Your Sports Complex

Sports complex landscaping is typically overlooked when making efforts for energy efficiency.  You can create an energy-efficient landscape design with the proper placement of trees and shrubs to help control both heat and wind. Solar shades on the outside windows will keep your building cooler in warm weather. Conversely, letting the sun in during the cold months will help heat the building.

Solar Panels

This is perhaps the most expensive option on the list, but it can also have the biggest payoff. Solar panels have a pretty steep upfront cost, but by using them in conjunction with other energy efficient options, your energy costs will be cut drastically. Not only that, but if you happen to take in more energy than you use, you can actually sell that energy to the utility companies, meaning your solar panels have the potential to actively turn a profit.

Integrated Building Management System

A building management system is best installed during the construction phase of a facility when you are implementing all of your energy systems. Building management systems are a good investment because they connect all of your systems — from HVAC to lighting — in one single interface.
This gives you complete control of your building’s energy usage and provides detailed data on energy usage, letting you identify ways to reduce consumption. By using integrated building management systems, you can truly optimize energy use in your sports complex or recreation center.

Contact SFA SFM

If you are looking to build a sports complex or recreational facility in your area, choose SFA SFM. We can guide you through every step of the process — from concept to concrete. Have an existing sports complex or recreation center? We can help with that too. Contact us today for more information and to see what SFA SFM can do for you.

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