TORONTO --  For the past two seasons the National Hockey League has donated 20 million gallons of water through a restoration program and saved more than 25 trees through new environmental policies.

The NHL released its first environmental sustainability report detailing the league’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and be better stewards of the environment. NHL officials said many of its players got their start playing hockey on frozen ponds and the organization wants to preserve that tradition. The NHL uses more than 321 million gallons of water in its venues annually. Additionally the league makes a practice of purchasing supplies made from recycled materials.

The league is tracking the conservation efforts for each of its 30 teams and the venues in which they play, factoring in the amount of water used in each arena, amount of electricity used and carbon emissions from travel.

“We believe that this effort is not only the right thing to do for the environment, but is also a core strategy for the long-term success of our League. We have a vested interest in this cause. As a business, we rely on freshwater to make our ice, on energy to fuel our operations and on healthy communities for our athletes, employees and fans to live, work and play,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a letter accompanying the report.

The report said greater efficiency In managing energy, water and waste is not only good for the environment, it is also smart business.” Costs of energy, water, and waste impact the bottom line of NHL venues. Controlling these factors through better management practices can drive down operating costs and increase profitability, the report said.

According to the report the league’s venues generated 528,322 metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2012. After implementing more efficient practices, the venues generated 380,342 metric tons of greenhouse emissions in 2013. Electricity makes up 80 percent of the energy consumption, with travel coming in a distant second.  The NHL said it recognizes the environmental impact of electric consumption and are promoting more efficient practices, including the installation of solar panels on some arenas. Five NHL arenas now supply a portion of their power needs for the facility by using on-site solar power or lower-emission energy sources, such as biogas-fueled fuel cell technology

The full report can be found here.

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