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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
As far as the Buffalo Sabres are concerned, less is more when it comes to consuming energy.

Which is why, in response to soaring gasoline prices, the organization opted to switch to a four-day workweek in the summer- gaining efficiency in the process.

“We normally have summer hours, which until this year were half days on Fridays,” said Chief Operating Officer Dan DiPofi. “The idea was rather than do that, because of the high price of gas, we would close the office on Fridays and work more the other four days.”

Instead a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workweek Monday through Friday, the staff arrives at 8 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and leaves at 5 p.m.

“The benefits are obviously that we are producing less pollution that results from driving cars as well as providing some relief to employees spending money on fuel,” DiPofi said.

He estimates that there are about 100 employees that commute to HSBC Arena during the summer on a daily basis. If the average employee lives 15 miles from the rink, the savings would collectively equate to approximately 3,000 miles round-trip each week.

“I bet every individual would save a couple hundred dollars by the end of the summer,” DiPofi said.

The employees agree.

“Personally I haven’t had to fill up as much,” said Director of Finance and Administration, Chuck LaMattina. “By the end of the summer, by commuting one less day every week, I will have saved two, maybe three weeks of gasoline. With today’s rates, that is a good amount of money being saved for anyone.”

The organization is able to conserve as well. With facilities closed three days during the week, the amount of electricity, water and air conditioning used have also been reduced.

“I can’t put my finger on [how much the organization will save] because there are so many operations we have to incur anyway to keep the building up and running and working with security,” LaMattina said. “But just from a standpoint of limited air conditioning and lights not being turned on in numerous parts of the building, there will be nice savings… By the end of the summer, it could [total] in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

The savings are mild compared to the impact it could have on the environment.

“I think we try to be very cognizant of what is going on around us,” LaMattina said. “Who knows how much affect it has, but if everybody did their part I think it would definitely add up.”


  • Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline.
  • Consider buying a highly fuel-efficient vehicle. A fuel-efficient vehicle, a hybrid vehicle, or an alternative fuel vehicle could save you a lot at the gas pump and help the environment. See the Fuel Economy Guide for more on buying a new fuel-efficient car or truck.
  • Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
  • Replace clogged air filters to improve gas mileage by as much as 10% and protect your engine.
  • Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks to avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or transmission problems.
  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned to improve your gasoline mileage by around 3.3%.
  • Use the grade of motor oil recommended by your car's manufacturer. Using a different motor oil can lower your gasoline mileage by 1%-2%.
  • Check into telecommuting, carpooling and public transit to cut mileage and car maintenance costs.
  • Reduce drag by placing items inside the car or trunk rather than on roof racks. A roof rack or carrier provides additional cargo space and may allow you to buy a smaller car. However, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.
  • Clear out your car; extra weight decreases gas mileage.
  • Use air conditioning only when necessary.
  • Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
  • When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces wear.
  • Avoid high speeds. Above 60 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. The Web site shows how driving speed affects gas mileage.
  • Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking) wastes gas. It can lower your highway gas mileage 33% and city mileage 5%.
  • Idling gets you 0 miles per gallon. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. No more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed. Anything more simply wastes fuel and increases emissions.

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