Since the turn of the century, the National Basketball Association's revenue has increased by $2.5 billion, according to Statista. The explosive popularity of the sport has led to massive amounts of fans going to their hometown arenas to see their teams play. In fact, the 2014 to 2015 NBA season broke the sport's all-time attendance record of 21,926,458, which equated to a year-over-year attendance increase of 2.4 percent – the largest such since 1995 to 1996, Forbes reported.
The average NBA arena's capacity is more than 18,000 seats. If NBA teams like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs continue to play record-breaking basketball, there's a good chance that the attendance record will break once again, very soon.
Arena owners can cut back drastically on their sky-high monthly utility bills and send a message to fans that sustainability isn't too difficult of an issue to tackle. Electric tankless water heaters are energy-efficient systems that reduce the amount of wasted electricity. When paired with low-flow technology, they can also help cut down water usage as well.
Making sense of arenas and energy waste
Nearly 181 million people visit stadiums and arenas in the United States every year, according to a Waste Management study on Sustainable Stadiums and Arenas. Installing electric tankless water heaters nationwide in these facilities would not only cut down on energy consumption, but it would also boost awareness of sustainable practices in a place where sustainability might not receive the most attention.
"Perhaps no other industry is as well suited to confirm that environmental stewardship has become a mainstream, non-partisan issue," Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council explained. "While only 13% of Americans say they follow science, 61% identify themselves as sports fans."
"Sports terms are in the unique position to sway public opinion on sustainable practices."
WM estimates waste production between the four major sports – the National Hockey League, National Football League, Major League Base ball and the NBA – generates 35,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Arena owners haven't had to think about the environmental effect of giving warm water to vendors and patrons for three hours a night, 41 nights a year, but the use adds up. Add in the amount of concerts, trade shows and other events that these arenas host, and all of a sudden you're talking about a lot water flowing from the faucet night in and night out.
WM pointed out that an average utility bill for a stadium or arena can be around $200,000 a month, with yearly electric use at around 23 million kWh. Arenas that use storage water heaters will only contribute more to their bill over time because of how ineffective the systems use utilities.
The large usage rate these facilities have could result in astronomically high bill prices, which in turns affects their bottom lines. This is because storage water heaters suffer from standby heat loss. In short, water is heated up and stored at a certain temperature. As it sits unused, like during the day before a game, it starts to lose that temperature. When someone needs hot water at the faucet, the system uses more energy to heat up water that has already been warmed once before. The result is arenas paying for double the energy they actually need.
Electric tankless water heaters are the solution
The greatest savings a business can make is not cutting a service or product, but streamlining infrastructure and day-to-day activities. This is where tankless water heaters become money well spent.
WM provided the Orlando Magic's Amway Center as an example. In 2011, the arena became LEED-certified Gold, meaning it improved sustainable practices in five green design areas, including water and energy efficiency, according to the NRDC.
The NRDC found three shocking results from Amway Center's energy-efficient improvements:
- The facility uses 25 percent less energy than it did beforehand.
- The arena consumes 40 percent less water.
- Changes saved arena and team owners $700,000 yearly in energy costs
The Amway Center owners combined energy-efficient technology, like electric tankless water heaters, with low-flow attachments to limit the amount of water and energy wasted by patrons and vendors, which ultimately contributed to massive savings. Simply by making a few minor investments, the facility will save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, as well as gain the privilege to boast about how environmentally friendly it is to go to Orlando Magic NBA games.
Ultimately, these projects fall on the executive staff operating these arenas. They are in the perfect position to show the public that everybody, businesses and residences alike, should consider using environmentally beneficial equipment like electric tankless water heaters to both save money and help fight against climate change.