If you’re building a new indoor ice arena, it’s relatively easy to build energy efficiency methods into the design. For older buildings, however, retrofitting to make your arena more energy efficient isn’t all that easy. After all, there’s so much that can be done, it’s sometimes hard to determine where to start. One relatively easy and inexpensive starting point is the light switches. If you’re still using on/off toggles to operate the lights, consider making them key-controlled light switches. Making the, um, switch will help you — and your team — be in control of which areas of your facility are lit, and when. And it will help you cut down on your electric bill too.

Key-controlled light switch

Consider replacing toggles with key-controlled light switches

Key controlled light switches are one of the dozens of facility management and energy-saving methods that the Parks and Recreation Manager has implemented at the Oilfields Regional Arena in Black Diamond, Alberta. It makes Les Quinton, and his operations team, the masters of their domain: it keeps them in control of the lights in their building and ensures that no user groups turn the lights on — or off — when they shouldn’t be. In order to turn the lights on, or off, a member of the operations team needs to manually turn them off, or on, with the use of a special key.

Over the past 20 years, Quinton has been working towards making the municipally-owned indoor arena more efficient. He had to, really: he inherited an undersized mechanical room and to be able to get it working optimally, he needed to be cognizant of what his building was doing and learned how to control it. (For more on Les, read “Removing ‘That’s how we’ve always done it’ from your vocabulary!” One of the easiest changes he made was switching from toggle switches to key-controlled light switches.

Switch the Switch Now — and Change the Lighting Later

Although the key controls were one of the first sweeping changes that Quinton made, today the key-operated switches are used in conjunction with motion detectors in several areas of his building — so you really can consider starting at the beginning instead of the end when considering changes to your lighting system. That includes the facility’s four dressing rooms, which are equipped with LED lighting. In the dressing rooms, for example, the sensors have a generous 30-minute window to automatically switch off after no activity is detected, but that’s a period that can be reduced or extended through his facility management system.

Les Quinton, Parks & Recreation Manager, Town of Black Diamond, Alberta

Les Quinton: If not in use do not turn it on

If Not In Use, Don’t Turn On

The key controls are a part of Quinton’s facility philosophy of “If it’s not in use, do not turn it on”. Great advice for all of us, at work and at home, too!

Many arena managers look at retrofitting the lighting to cut down on the monthly electric bills because of the tremendous savings they can get — but they often forget to look at the controls themselves. Moving to key-controlled switches is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to make sure your user groups aren’t controlling your lights, but you and your operations team are. And by controlling when your lights are on, you’ll cut down on your electric consumption.