NHL deploys new cloud-based app to track greenhouse emissions of its arenas

The same technology that NHL players and coaches use on the bench to track real-time metrics during games is now being applied to track their arena's greenhouse gas emissions.

The NHL has introduced a new platform called NHL Venue Metrics powered by SAP. The end-to-end, cloud-based platform allows the league to measure and analyze the carbon footprint generated by its 32 teams and their arenas, using similar apps that those same clubs use to break down their in-game analytics.

"We're making it as easy as possible for them to input the information that's needed, so they can start to see the benefits coming out of it on the other end," said Amy Schulz, senior director of global sponsorships at SAP. "We've seen that with the coaching insights app on all 32 benches, providing some of the puck and player tracking information and other data coming off of the ice, near real time to the coaches so that they can make smarter, better decisions on the fly.

"That's what we're hoping for with the NHL Venue Metrics. We will continue to get live feedback from the teams to say, 'Hey, this is great. I would love if we could add XYZ, but we don't need this part.' It really will help us hone in on the best solution to to make a difference."

The NHL Coaching Insights App and the NHL Venue Metrics App both run on SAP's Business Technology Platform. Instead of visualizing in-game data like shots, saves, faceoffs, and time on ice like its bench-side counterpart, the arena-focused app tracks data like energy usage, water, waste, and recycling in NHL arenas.

"The NHL Venue Metrics tool is a true game-changing innovation to help us understand our environmental impacts and create viable insights to improve our ecological impact," Omar Mitchell, NHL vice president of sustainable infrastructure and growth initiatives, said in a statement.

Climate-change studies have found that electricity and heat production sectors account for approximately 49 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. The NHL's own studies have found that its venue operations comprise approximately 70 per cent of the league’s overall carbon footprint. To try to shrink its ecological imprint, the NHL tasked SAP with a technology-based solution and the Venue Metrics app was the result.

Schulz noted that as much as the app led to greenhouse efficiencies, most sustainability initiatives lead to financial benefits as well.

"I think that the key to this platform in general is visibility, across all the venues to better understand where are they using," Schulz told The Canadian Press. "You can't affect what you don't know. I think that really is the key: understanding where they can make efficiencies.

"I think everybody wants to be as green as possible. I think it's just a matter of getting the right technology and solutions in place to understand at scale."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2022.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press