Recreation Facility LED Light Upgrade: An in-depth look at the City of Peterborough

Posted: October 18, 2017
Tagged As: Electricity, Energy, Energy Bills, Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans, Energy Planning, LED, Recreational Lighting

The City of Peterborough, incorporated in 1905, is located in Central Ontario about 1.5 hours northeast of Toronto and 3 hours southwest of Ottawa. The City is known as the gateway to the Kawartha’s (i.e. cottage country). Its economic base includes technology and manufacturing companies such as Siemens, GE, Quaker Oats, Dynacast and Bryston.  The population is 81,032, having experienced a 3% growth since 2011.  With an increase in population comes the need for recreational facilities, fitness clubs, and other social services within the community.

Peterborough currently operates two such facilities to meet the needs of the community; the Peterborough Memorial Centre and the Peterborough Sports & Wellness Centre.

According to Mac MacGillivray, Property & Energy Manager with the City of Peterborough, the City undertook lighting upgrades at these facilities “to reduce energy consumption and reduce maintenance costs while increasing the lighting efficiency for the arenas.”  In May 2017, Council approved a staff recommendation to award contracts to LAS’ partner Conrad Lighting Solutions for the design and installation of LED lights to replace existing High Intensity Discharge (HID) and fluorescent fixtures at both the Peterborough Memorial Centre and Peterborough Sports & Wellness Centre.

Peterborough Memorial Centre

Image of Peterborough Memorial CentreThe Peterborough Memorial Centre is a 4,329-seat multi-purpose single-pad arena. Built in 1956, it is home to the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League and the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse.

The LED lighting retrofit for over the 200ft x 85ft ice pad was completed on September 11, 2017.   The project replaced the existing (32) 1000W metal halide fixtures mounted at 45 feet with (64) Acuity IBG fixtures. These fixtures operate 3120 hours annually. 

The light levels at Memorial Centre increased from 70 to 90 foot-candles (FC) - a measurement of light intensity/brightness as measured at the ice surface - to an average of 150 FC in accordance with the Ontario Hockey League broadcasting standards, while still providing energy savings.  The project also incorporated dimming controls to produce further energy savings from the fixtures over the ice surface, as public skates and maintenance activities do not require the same high light level standards of minor hockey broadcasts.  According to Mac MacGillivray, “the lighting actually looks brighter than the original HID and does not have any shadowing.”

Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre

Image of Peterborough Sport & Wellness CentreThe Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre was opened in 2005. This 7000 sq.ft. facility contains an aquatic centre, a fitness centre, and a gymnasium. The aquatic centre has two pools: a 3-lane leisure pool which is 20m in length, and a therapy pool. The fitness centre features an indoor 100m walking track. The gymnasium can be divided into three separate areas for recreational or competitive events. Due to the extended hours of operation (5:00am-11:30pm), the business case to convert the existing HIDs lights to more efficient LEDs was excellent.

As part of the project, the existing pool lighting was upgraded from (24) 250W induction style fixtures to (24) Acuity DSXPGT LED fixtures.  The gymnasium area had (36) existing induction light fixtures at 400W providing 25-30 FC’s.  These were replaced with new Acuity IBG LED lighting fixtures mounted at 30ft which increased light levels to between 35-40 FC’s. 

The common halls and remainder of the facility had (66) suspended 100W metal halide fixtures. These were replaced with Acuity LED suspended cylinders.  Other measures included a retrofit kit designed for the fixtures in the fitness area (up light fixtures); LED lamp and ballast retrofits throughout offices, storage space, and work areas; and LED Pot Light Kits which provide longer life and significantly lower wattage consumption. 

Summary of Annual Energy Savings

A summary of breakdown of the cost of project and annual energy savings for the two buildings is as follows:
Total Project Cost       $398,780                     Energy Cost Savings  $37,365
IESO Incentives          $19,770                       Maintenance Savings $7,825
NET Project Cost        $379,010                     NET Total Savings      $45,190
Return on Investment (ROI) 12%


Challenges that this project faced were primarily around scheduling. At the Memorial Centre, 10 continuous days were required to undertake the rink lighting upgrade. Finding the timing between bookings and Lacrosse games was difficult. The City had also requested to have lights installed on the stair risers in the bleachers.  Delays were experienced due to supply of these fixtures and also due to custom fabrication on housing kits for the fitness area.  In order to minimize disruption to facility, installation was performed outside of regular operating hours, resulting in this portion of work taking longer than expected.  In the end however, installation of the fixtures over the ice surface was completed by due date.  Controls were delayed by one day, but this had no impact on the operation of the lights or the ice activities.  At the Sports & Wellness Centre, the main lighting components were installed on schedule in July 2017 for the pool, gym, and common areas of the building. 

Lessons Learned

A number of lessons can be learned from this project:
  • If the project is to be completed within a certain period, it is important to finalize project details and the schedule well in advance to allow time for this to happen. 
  • In your schedule, allow time for delivery of fixtures and contingency plans in the event of unforeseen delays/issues (i.e. acts of god, transport/delivery delays, manufacturing, etc.) This will help to guarantee smooth delivery and installation based on established timelines. Keep in mind that different manufacturers/fixtures have different lead times. 
  • Regular communication is key.  All members of the project team (client, project manager, suppliers and installers) need to set clear communication roles and expectations to understand deliverables and key necessary stakeholders.
The City of Peterborough is not new to energy efficiency.  Over the past five years, the City has completed “many interior renovations with the inclusion of LED lighting and controls, the installation of high efficiency condensing boilers, installation of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD), replacement of rooftop units with high efficiency and complete facility Building Automation System (BAS) controls” explains Mac MacGillivray, and they are committed to “always providing energy efficient renovations and LED replacement wherever possible”.

Although the installation is still fresh, the City is confident that the community will respond positively to the new look, and that these lights will last for many years to come. If you are ever in the area, why not stop by and have a look?

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