Vancouver Olympics offer real-time energy-tracking scoreboards

Consumer Reports News: February 19, 2010 12:11 AM

To say the atmosphere is electric is a time-honored cliché at major sporting events. But thanks to a partnership between energy-tracking software company Pulse Energy, local utility BCHydro, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Web surfers can see exactly how many kilowatt hours of electricity are being consumed.

Over at the Canada Hockey Place arena on Tuesday, energy consumption quickly soared to a rate of 2,773 kWh at noon as the puck dropped to start the U.S. men’s hockey team’s match with Switzerland (the Americans scored a 3-1 victory). It hit 2,782 kWh at 4:29 p.m. as the Canadian men’s team defeated Norway, 8-0, and peaked the next afternoon at 2,800 kWh as the Canadian women’s team lit up the scoreboard brighter than Lindsey Vonn's smile in a 13-1 shellacking of Sweden

The smaller Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre’s energy use spiked on Wednesday at 2:33 p.m. to 640 kWh of energy consumed as four major curling matches were taking place, including the Swiss avenging their earlier loss in hockey with a 7-6 barnburner win over the United States.

Other trackers are in place at the Richmond Olympic Oval, where the long track speed skating events are held, the Athlete's Village at the Whistler Ski resort, and the Athlete’s Village Community Center, a 45,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility whose tracker shows the considerable savings that result from the latest green initiatives. These include building orientation (including a three-story atrium to produce year-round natural lighting and ventilation in summer) and a solar thermal system that produces hot water for a low temperature radiant slab (hydronic) heating systems.

The trackers include two sets of curves showing actual power consumption and what would have been consumed had these venues not been built or retrofitted before the games with these energy-saving measures. Additionally, local utility BCHydro, which is supplying a large amount of renewable energy to the games, is offering an interactive tour of their Home of the Future made from shipping containers that contains with engaging displays of smart appliances, smart metering, solar panels, and hybrid hot water heaters.

Gian Trotta

Essential information: You’ll find our latest ratings and reviews of energy-saving products like smart appliances, smart meters and energy-saving software and services like Microsoft Hohm and Google's PowerMeter in our Energy Saving & Green Living guide.


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