Rogers Centre Employs Cutting-Edge Technology in Lighting Retrofit

Rogers Centre is a Toronto landmark and arguably one of the most recognizable structures in the city. With 1.4 million square feet of exhibition space, commercial, residential space, and a professional sports arena, the landmark Rogers Centre, until recently, has been one of Toronto’s biggest energy hogs.

Today, Rogers Centre is leading the way in energy conservation with the installation of a brand new, state-of-the-art, energy saving lighting system from Encelium Technologies in Markham. The project will receive a cashback rebate through the BOMA Toronto CDM Program.   This new technology will enable Rogers Centre to cut its lighting energy consumption by up to 79 per cent.

Under the direction of Toronto Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey, Energy Manager Moe Goldhar spearheaded the endeavor to cut the Rogers Centre’s energy consumption. Goldhar describes the new lighting system as an “eye in the sky.”

“The way our new system works is by using a computer based control. You can give that system instruction to zero in on an individual fixture and tell it what to do – something like that has never been possible before.

“We are among the small number of buildings in the country utilizing this technology and the savings we’ll eventually realize can be as high as 79 per cent,” said Goldhar. “We’ve never been able to achieve that before!”

Goldhar explained that, because Rogers Centre is composed of areas for a variety of uses, from restaurants and meeting rooms, to business offices and private boxes, the lighting could not be uniform throughout. The shortcomings and limitations inherent in a large building’s lighting system have been eliminated with this new technology, Goldhar said.

“In my office, for example, I have a window and when the sun comes out my fixtures now dim down very gently. They may even go out entirely if the sun is bright enough. That’s one way we’re using the system.”

Another way, Goldhar explained, has to do with analyzing how much lighting is required in different areas of the building and programming the system accordingly to deliver the appropriate lighting amounts.

“When a traditional lighting system is installed, you don’t know what the occupancy of the building is going to look like. You don’t know, say, how a certain office or area will be used. So, in come cases, it may involve people sitting at a desk, it may be a storage room or an enclave. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter because the lighting is all homogenous. In some of those areas, the lighting will be more than what you need, or just what you need, while in others it won’t be enough.”

Using such a standard, homogenous lighting system means that a building has 100 per cent lighting output, at the maximum wattage, in all areas, usually at all times.

“But,” said Goldhar, “with our new system, if I determine an area doesn’t need 100 per cent of output, I can dim a fixture down to the level I want. Remotely, from my office, I can reduce the lighting and see it on my screen.”

The new lighting retrofit can also be programmed to automatically turn lights and appliances on and off depending on building occupancy and necessity. For example, in the Rogers Centre’s private suites, or “boxes,” Goldhar can program lights and appliances to turn on in coordination with when a guest has been booked to arrive, rather than leaving all appliances running in a vacant suite.

“Those private boxes only get used for so many days per year, but those appliances were on 24/7!  That’s 5 kilowatts of energy for appliances that you don’t need to have on all the time.”

The total cost for the Rogers Centre’s lighting retrofit is approximately $1 million, but the financial incentive from the BOMA Toronto CDM Program brings that cost down by approximately $200,000.

“Without the BOMA CDM Program, the original payback was going to be about 4 years,” Goldhar said. “But with the grant, that payback period has dropped back to about 3 years. That is pretty darned attractive!”

In total, the new system will save 3,732,000 kWh each year – enough electricity to power 414 average homes in Toronto. The upgrade will also save Rogers Centre a whopping $300,000 plus in annual electricity costs.

Paul Godfrey is the man who commissioned Goldhar to cut the Centre’s energy costs.

“We wanted to be a great corporate citizen by taking the initiative to reduce our electricity consumption,” Godfrey said of the project, “But we also cut our lighting energy consumption by a third and had the financial support through BOMA to cut our capital expenditures.”

The BOMA Toronto CDM Program helped to make a great initiative even more attractive , Godfrey said.

“It provided a major incentive.”

The BOMA Toronto CDM Program is a $60 million dollar cash-back incentive program made possible by the Ontario Power Authority.  The funding is available to owners and managers of privately-owned buildings in the City of Toronto. 


Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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