People always ask how an old arena like me can be a role model for energy efficiency. Well, for starters, you can see how all Ottawa facilities perform on this map provided by Better Buildings Ottawa.
Am I the best in my class? It’s difficult to make a truly apples to apples comparison. Maybe I’m the most improved for energy efficiency? Frankly, I’m just pleased to be part of the conversation.
I’m turning 50 this year, and I have to admit I have never felt better. I’m cozy. Comfortable. Less drafty. I finally feel like I am controlling my temperature instead of my temperature controlling me.
I remember a few years ago when the big floods happened along the Ottawa River. The water came nowhere near me in Blackburn Hamlet, but it got me thinking. I know extreme weather is a direct result of climate change. I wondered if there was anything I could do about it.
I needed a new roof in 2018 so I took that opportunity to replace the insulation at the same time. I think that made a big difference in my greenhouse gas emissions and I immediately felt more comfortable. It's a lot easier to keep my arena cool and my change rooms and lobby warm, lowering both my heating and cooling bills. I call that a win-win. Arenas are always happier when the home side wins.
Then I changed all my lighting to LED, many of which are activated by motion sensors. Less heat. More efficiency. More savings.
Last year I underwent a bit of a renovation. It was a scary time but I’m fine now. It was an opportunity to make more changes, like planting trees and installing a cool solar wall that allows me to warm up in winter without burning as much fuel. I know the City is looking into different approaches at other arenas, but this one is mine and I’m proud of it.
Thank goodness it all held together when the derecho rolled across Ottawa last spring. Like I said, extreme weather is a direct result of climate change. We have to do our best to prevent it but also to be prepared for it. I feel like I am doing both right now. I think they call that climate resiliency.
I know it’s cliché to say this, but if I can make these changes, anyone can. I got some help from government grants, which are available to almost anyone. The City is committed to helping you get started because they have their own climate change and energy initiatives.
My recommendation would be to start with an energy audit. It doesn’t hurt at all. Between you and me, I kind of enjoyed it. I may go book another one right now.