Bentley Arena Improves University’s National Recognition, Joins Others for Sustainability Win

by | May 7, 2018

Bentley Ice Arena

The new, environmentally sustainable Bentley Arena at Bentley University has received LEED platinum certification, an honor which highlights the university’s “continued rise as an innovative, nationally-recognized business university,” the school says.

The multipurpose arena, the first stand-alone ice arena to earn LEED platinum certification, features technology that will result in the building’s carbon footprint being half of what it would be for a regular building of a similar size; it will also use less than half of the overall grid energy required to power a building of its size, according to Bentley’s director of sustainability, Amanda King.

LEED platinum certification was made possible in part because energy conservation measures and sustainable design initiatives were prioritized throughout design and construction, the university’s LEED consultants, Thornton Thomasetti.

Sustainable Features

The features that make the arena environmentally sustainable include:

  • At least 50% of wood used in the building is sourced from forests with certified sustainable forestry practices
  • About 10% of construction and finish materials is locally sourced
  • About 20% of construction and finish materials contain recycled content
  • Ice-making and air conditioning systems that use zero CFC-based refrigerant
  • The highest-efficiency plumbing fixtures on the market, including waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers to reduce the demand for water
Energy Saving Elements

The 76,000 square-foot arena was also built with energy savings in mind, to the extent that it will “provide a strong return on investment for many years,” according to Penni Conner, senior vice president and chief customer officer for Eversource, which provided incentives for many of the energy efficiency measures installed throughout the building.

Energy saving measures include:

  • A 504-kilowatt rooftop solar array developed by Rivermoor Energy that will generate 40% of the building’s annual electricity needs
  • Technology that captures heat generated from the rink’s ice-making equipment to heat water throughout the building
  • More glass windows than a typical arena, allowing for more natural light that decreases the amount of electricity needed to light the building’s interior
  • High-efficiency LED lighting with smart, motion-detecting controls that turn off lights when no one is present to sharply reduce electricity usage

Rivermoor Energy managed the planning, development, and financing of the solar solution, providing Bentley University with a long-term solar power purchase agreement. The Bentley Arena hosts the university’s NCAA Division I hockey team and prominent university events such as career fairs, speakers, alumni events and concerts.


In addition to working with Eversource and Rivermoor Energy, Bentley worked with Suffolk Construction, which built the arena, and Thornton Tomasetti, Bentley’s LEED consultants.

Sustainability across the University

Among other environmentally responsible measures, Bentley says it has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and has a campus waste reduction program that recycles more than 270 tons of material per year.

New Mission: To Win at Environmental Responsibility

Arenas, stadiums and sports centers across the US are being built with an eye to improving sustainability. The Milwaukee Bucks’ new Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Center, for example, aims to reduce the arena’s footprint, ensure energy efficiency, and further sustainability by envisioning the arena as a “smart building” that the organization said last fall will be “the gold standard for a sports and entertainment facility.”

And in December, Bjarke Ingels Group revealed plans for a sports stadium and entertainment center in Austin, Texas, that the architectural firm says will use rooftop photovoltaic panels. Called East Austin District, the 1.3 million-square-foot project includes a 40,000-seat stadium next to a 15,000-seat multi-purpose arena.

Interested in learning more? Last September, a report from Solarplaza listed the world’s top 50 solar stadiums and sports venues.

Getting It Done: Vendors Mentioned Above

Bjarke Ingels Group


Rivermoor Energy

Suffolk Construction

Thornton Thomasetti

The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.

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