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Maple Leafs turn waste into water

by NHL Green

Five years ago, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) launched Team Up Green, an environmental effort that would significantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The venue's sustainability plan set goals to reduce energy usage by 30 percent, reduce the carbon footprint by 30 percent and divert 95 percent of waste to landfill by 2013.

Through a range of practical, cost-effective and community-focused solutions, combined with several capital projects aimed at improving the venue's efficiency, records taken earlier this year show that the Air Canada Centre has achieved impressive results; including a 74 percent reduction in waste and a carbon footprint reduction of 34 percent within the first three years, two years ahead of the scheduled target. In September, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a full case study detailing the ACC's challenges and achievements.

The latest sustainability initiative at the Air Canada Centre involves upgrades to housekeeping systems. The arena has reduced the bulk of its cleaning products -- which had been Ecologo or Green Seal certified -- and installed a cleaning distribution system utilizing sodium-enriched water, charged with electricity. The new system effectively turns regular tap water into a highly efficient cleaner.

Air Canada Centre has deployed the water-based cleaner to scrub concourses and clean stainless glass and mirrors. Due to the lack of chemicals, the new system leaves a streak-free surface.

This year, the ACC also installed a new system that turns organic food waste into water in 24 hours. The system is designed to manage this waste on site, diverting it from landfills, which reduces methane gas production, eliminates transportation pollution and keeps the arena's kitchens cleaner.

To learn more, check out National Geographic's Beyond the Puck for a behind-the-scenes tour of the ACC's environmental efforts -- including lighting retrofits, a reverse osmosis ice plant system and improved recycling initiatives.

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