By Michael Caduto
As of early summer 2021, Union Arena’s newly-installed energy-efficient systems and expansive solar array have transformed the building into the first NET ZERO ICE ARENA in the United States, with no net annual energy cost for heating fuel and electricity. With the cost of energy accounting for approximately a third of the total annual operational costs, the sustainability benefits for the arena operations budget, for the environment, and for the community, are profound and far-reaching. Crossing the rubicon to net-zero positively affects the cost of programs, keeping them affordable, and therefore accessible, for all.
The Union Arena NET ZERO project supports a broad array of commitments that have been made for increasing renewable energy and decreasing carbon emissions, including the goals of President Biden’s Climate Plan, Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act, and the Town of Woodstock, Vermont’s own Comprehensive Energy Plan, “Ready for 100%” pledge to the Sierra Club and Climate Emergency and Action Resolution.
The world has discovered Union Arena’s innovative and forward-looking net-zero project, which has been featured in articles published by the Associated Press and the Globe & Mail, and in broadcasts over Radio Canada and VPR. The net-zero team has conducted classes for Efficiency Vermont, hosting other ice arena operators. They served as panel members in a webinar shared nationwide in Canada to create a road map to help Canadian municipalities get to NET ZERO. New York City has contacted Union Arena to study the project.