FAIRFIELD, Conn.--()--GE (NYSE: GE), in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), announced today it recently concluded an ecomagination Treasure Hunt at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in the city of Orlando. The process identified potential opportunities to reduce the stadium’s energy spending by 50 percent annually. It was conducted as part of GE’s partnership with the city to create local jobs and improve energy efficiency.
“This effort to improve efficiency and reduce energy costs demonstrates the results that can be realized through public-private partnerships and collaboration.”
The ecomagination Treasure Hunt teamed up Orlando’s facility employees and GE technical experts to investigate resource consumption using lean methodologies and recommend methods to reduce energy waste. Performed over two-and-a-half days, before, during and after the annual Florida Classic on November 20, these teams studied the Florida Citrus Bowl’s energy usage at three different periods: At rest, at start-up and in full usage.
“With its forward-thinking approach to energy conservation and sustainability solutions, Orlando is a leader among American cities,” said Mark Vachon, GE’s vice president of ecomagination. “This effort to improve efficiency and reduce energy costs demonstrates the results that can be realized through public-private partnerships and collaboration.”
Overall, the ecomagination Treasure Hunt identified 25 potential savings opportunities. The suggested improvements could reduce the stadium’s energy spending by 50 percent annually. That, in turn, would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 617 metric tons, the equivalent of eliminating 118 cars from the roads, eliminating 25,708 propane cylinders used for home barbecues, or planting 15,821 tree seedlings and allowing them to grow for 10 years.
The suggested improvements range from simple changes such as shutting off lights in the parking lots to more complicated upgrades such as installing remote programmable thermostats to reduce reset temperatures. The estimated cost to implement all the identified opportunities is $365,000, and it is expected that the facility will recoup those expenses within 2.4 years.
“Orlando’s strategic partnership with GE and EDF through the ecomagination Treasure Hunt program will continue to propel the city’s efforts to save on energy costs and reduce our carbon emissions,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Through the city’s GreenWorks Orlando program, we’ve focused on investing in energy efficiencies, which has already led to the construction and completion of six LEED-certified Orlando fire stations and the construction of the first LEED-certified NBA facility. Because of this, Orlando has been selected as one of 24 Solar America Cities by the U.S. Department of Energy.”
“After a long weekend spent exploring the Citrus Bowl from top to bottom ― counting light fixtures, examining light bulbs and checking refrigerators and air conditioners ― with a hardworking team from the city of Orlando, GE and EDF, I came away encouraged that business, non-profits and government can work together to find practical solutions to environmental problems,” said David Witzel of Environmental Defense Fund.
Treasure Hunt basics from GE Capital
Through its ecomagination initiative, GE has made significant progress on its own energy reduction goals by utilizing Treasure Hunts, an internal process where GE leaders work with onsite staff to apply technology expertise and process improvement tools to identify, quantify and recommend enhancements to sources of energy waste – including electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater, compressed air and steam. GE has conducted more than 200 Treasure Hunts internally, resulting in $150 million in savings. After testing the concept’s effectiveness, GE and EDF began collaborating in the summer of 2010 to share these best practices externally at select sites.
The Citrus Bowl Treasure Hunt process began weeks in advance, with GE Capital’s Access GE team guiding the city’s key sustainability staff through a planning process. This process included calculating the Citrus Bowl’s energy spending by stream to form a baseline of the stadium’s current energy usage and expenses. These seasoned facilitators, utilizing GE’s lean methodologies, then assisted the city in identifying energy saving opportunities which will drive reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and improve the stadium’s operating efficiency. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at http://ge.ecomagination.com.
GE Capital’s Access GE program shares tools and insights from across GE’s diverse operations to help businesses tackle their most pressing challenges. Over the past 10 years, Access GE has completed more than 8,000 projects for approximately 6,500 companies globally. GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital).
GE’s partnership with city of Orlando
The Citrus Bowl Treasure Hunt was the second one that GE and EDF conducted in the city of Orlando. The first event was performed in August at the Converv II Wastewater Treatment Facility. The teams identified opportunities for $177,000 in annual energy savings. The improvements that were suggested could pay back within two years and would lead to the reduction of more than 2,400 metric tons of emissions annually.
The ecomagination Treasure Hunts are just one component of the city of Orlando’s partnership with GE. In September, the two signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help create local “green” jobs and save residents and businesses money with more energy-efficient homes and offices. The partnership will expand the city’s GreenWorks Orlando program and provide the community with GE expertise, innovative technology and assistance that will help solve local energy challenges and give residents early access to pilot programs and products. The city of Orlando is one of several cities in which GE is currently partnering to develop business-based solutions to meet communities’ sustainability goals.
About GreenWorks Orlando
The city’s GreenWorks Orlando program is aimed at protecting our natural resources, encouraging environmentally friendly lifestyles and business practices, and engaging everyone who lives, works and visits Central Florida in the effort to “go green.” GreenWorks Orlando focuses on immediate and dramatic actions to conserve natural resources and protect the environment, including investing in green buildings, vehicles and materials and working together as a community to combat the urgent global climate threat.
A leading national nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund represents more than 700,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. Environmental Defense Fund has a 20-year track record of success in partnering with business. To maintain its independence and credibility, EDF accepts no money from corporate partners; generous individuals and foundations fund its work. For more information, visit www.edf.org/partnerships.