The city of Orlando, Florida recently joined the ecomagination Treasure Hunt program, in which GE, in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, finds and measures sources of energy waste and then recommends solutions. The famed Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium was the site of Orlando’s second energy hunt, and the results were impressive: it uncovered ways to reduce the stadium’s energy spending by 50 percent annually.
Performed over two-and-a-half days — before, during, and after the annual Florida Classic football game on November 20 — Orlando’s facility employees and GE technical experts studied the Florida Citrus Bowl’s energy usage at three different periods: At rest, at start-up, and in full usage.
The treasure hunt process actually began weeks in advance, with a team from GE Capital’s Access GE program — which shares tools and insights from across GE’s divisions to help other businesses tackle tough problems. (Over the past 10 years, Access GE has completed more than 8,000 projects for approximately 6,500 companies globally.) Using GE’s lean methodologies, the Capital team guided Orlando’s sustainability staff through a planning process, which included calculating the Citrus Bowl’s energy spending and usage so that a baseline could be formed.
Overall, the ecomagination Treasure Hunt identified 25 potential savings opportunities. In addition to the cost savings, the suggested improvements could reduce the stadium’s carbon dioxide emissions by 617 metric tons, the equivalent of eliminating 118 cars from the roads or eliminating 25,708 propane cylinders used for home barbecues.
The savings methods range from simple changes such as shutting off lights in the parking lots to more complicated upgrades like installing remote programmable thermostats. The estimated cost to implement all the identified opportunities is $365,000 — and it’s expected that the stadium would recoup the expense within 2.4 years.
The latest external treasure hunt builds on a program that GE has successfully pursued internally for years as part of its ecomagination initiative. So far, there have been more than 200 internal treasure hunts at GE businesses, resulting in $150 million in savings.
GE’s partnership with Orlando is designed to expand the city’s GreenWorks Orlando program and help create local “green” jobs. Part of the project will explore community-wide equipment retrofits to increase energy efficiency; the deployment of smart grid technologies; and planning for electric vehicle infrastructure.
* Learn more about the Citrus Bowl treasure hunt
* Visit our Sustainable Cities website
* Read “New Portland partnership pushes sustainable growth”
* Read “Port of Rotterdam sailing to sustainability on tech wave”