|In May 2007, the Montreal Canadiens organization embarked on what would become known as The Goal is Green! program, an ambitious and wide-ranging project to position the club at the forefront of all environmental leaders in professional sports.
The Goal is Green! was originally envisioned as one of the wide-ranging projects related to the club’s Centennial, but quickly evolved into its own standalone, long-ranging initiative. Its mission, in broad terms, was laid out as the following:
Establish the organization as an industry leader both on the ice and in the community through programs that reduce its environmental footprint, support the greening of the environment and renewable resources, and encourage its wide-ranging fanbase to do the same.
Since the inauguration of the Goal is Green!, the initiative has already made significant reductions in the Bell Centre’s overall environmental footprint.
Shortly after launching the initiative, a comprehensive review of the Bell Centre’s operations management was undertaken to identify the areas and processes in the facility that were falling short of environmental standards. Once the identified areas had been corrected or improved, the Bell Centre applied for and received three environmental certifications, the most of any venue in North America. These certificates include, Ici on Recycle (Level 3), LEED-EB (Existing Building), and ISO 14001.
Ici on Recycle
In May 2008, the Bell Centre received a Level 3 certification from the Quebec government’s Ici on Recycle program by recycling and composting 80% of the facility’s residual waste. Since that time, the Bell Centre has increased the level to 85% (up from 25% prior to the launch of program), a figure which represents approximately 1,000 tons of residual waste that is recycled or composted by the Bell Centre on an annual basis. In 2013, the Bell Centre moved up to a Silver level for its continued commitment of recycling and composting.
LEED-EB (Existing Building)
The Bell Centre received certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) on October 13, 2009. LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
To become certified, the Bell Centre had to meet 50 LEED criteria, which necessitated the following notable actions:
• Installing water efficient toilets and faucets to reduce water usage by 20%
• Implementing a policy whereby 80% of Bell Centre purchases are of recycled, re-used, or local materials.
• Reducing carbon gas emissions by 28%.
As a result of the changes made to the Bell Centre in order to become LEED certified, the venue became 35% more energy efficient than similar-type facilities throughout North America.
The Bell Centre was certified ISO 14001 on November 16, 2009. The ISO 14001 is the world’s most recognized framework for environmental management systems (EMS) that help organizations to both better manage the impact of their activities on the environment and to demonstrate sound environmental management.
In addition to the organizational improvements implemented as part of the Goal is Green! program, the Montreal Canadiens have also made numerous improvements that impact the public, such as:
• Allocating three premiere Bell Centre parking spots for hybrid vehicles.For all owners or future owners of electric and hybrid cars, the Bell Centre has installed two recharging stations in the underground parking lot.
•New hand-dryers have been installed in the public bathrooms of the amphitheatre. They dry hands three times faster than previous models while also consuming three times less energy. They also contain 80% recycled materials and are made in Quebec.
• Changing the type of plastic used in all beer cups from a form that biodegraded in 1,000 years to a form that biodegrades within three months
• Installing 945 two- and three-way recycling bins throughout the Bell Centre concourses and offices
• Repurposing leftover concession and luxury suite food for distribution to local food banks; over 39 tons of food are donated annually to La Maison du Père (the equivalent of 40,000 meals from concessions) and La Tablée des chefs (the equivalent of 50,000 meals from suites)
•In addition to the electric and hybrid car chargers in the parking lot, the Bell Centre has also installed cell and smart phone charging stations in the concourses.
As a recent addition to the program, the Canadiens are proud to announce the "Twig for a Twig" initiative, a new reforestation program dedicated to planting trees in areas of Quebec where they are needed most, including abandoned farmlands, surrounding lakes with blue-green algae, etc.
With the help of Tree Canada, the Montreal Canadiens will plant one tree for every stick broken during the 2013-14 season.
TREE CANADA is a charitable not-for-profit organization which develops and delivers programs, in partnership with corporations and communities, to help grow and maintain a healthy environment through sustaining urban and rural forests.
The organization will continue to expand the scope of The Goal is Green! program by working to augment its level of building certifications and launching several initiatives that will directly engage with the public.