Recreation Center Efficiency Solutions Package

The Recreation Center Efficiency Solutions Package aims to support municipalities nationwide with selecting efficiency improvements to reduce energy and water use at existing recreation centers by at least 20 percent. This toolkit is a product of a collaboration of the City of Atlanta (CoA) and Southface Energy Institute through the Advanced Commercial Buildings Initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The majority of the CoA recreation center portfolio was benchmarked in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, and select centers received ASHRAE Level II audits. This package intends to inform local municipalities on how to approach conserving energy and water, and implementing institutional efficiency policies across a portfolio of recreation centers.


The Advanced Commercial Buildings Initiative (ACBI) is a three-year project led by Southface Energy Institute and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to increase energy and water efficiency in small commercial buildings. One ACBI project goal is to create a pathway to 20 percent energy reduction in recreation centers through a collaboration with the City of Atlanta.

Across the nation there are approximately 26,300 municipally owned recreation centers, the majority of which are smaller than 50,000 square feet. The Department of Parks & Recreation of Atlanta manages 28 recreation centers. Recreation centers have long operating hours and offer a range of fitness and education activities.

Problem Statement and Barriers

Below, barriers to implementing energy efficiency projects at municipal recreation centers are listed:

  • Limited access to financing and higher priority upgrades (Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), life safety)
  • Lack of clear and funded path to meet stated goals related to energy efficiency
  • Gaps in utility data and lack of verification protocol
  • Lack of training around best practices regarding energy efficienc

This solutions package aims to address the last two barriers listed above.


Broadly speaking, the CoA sustainability plan sets targets to reduce its green house gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030, with 2009 as the baseline. Goals specific to recreation center upgrades are as follows:

  • Track utility consumption for all recreation centers in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
  • Exceed the 20 percent energy and water reduction goals of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge
  • Pursue upgrades with a payback of five years or less
  • Verify and track savings

Your support enables Southface to launch and lead important initiatives across the sustainability spectrum—bold programs made possible through the generosity of our donors. Become a member today!

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Southface Energy Institute

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | EIN 58-1357547
© 2019 Southface Institute.       241 Pine Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308