Houston Major League Sports Venue getting Energy Efficiency Overhaul

June 2, 2023
The 20-year energy savings performance contract is expected to generate $54 million in savings, which will cover the entire cost of the complex-wide upgrades. Upgrades include building automation systems, HVAC equipment, water conservation and lighting

Johnson Controls is contracted to work on a sustainability and energy efficiency project at NRG Park, a sports and entertainment complex in Houston, Texas.

The project is being carried out in partnership with Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC), NRG Park and Harris County, Texas, the company says.

It adds that the 20-year energy savings performance contract is expected to generate over $54 million in savings, which will cover the entire cost of the complex-wide upgrades and provide surplus funds for reinvestment into the Harris County community.

“Because the project is completely funded by generated savings, it is a win for all involved stakeholders, including our tenants, guests, clients, meeting planners, promoters, performers, staff, and Harris County taxpayers,” said Bishop James Dixon II, Chairman of the Board at HCSCC.

NRG Park is spread over 350 acres of land and features three sports, entertainment, and event venues: NRG Center, NRG Stadium, and NRG Arena. In addition to about 500 events and 5.5 million visitors annually, the complexes are home venues for teams such as Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros and NFL football’s Houston Texans.  

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The upgrades will encompass various areas, including building automation systems, HVAC equipment, water conservation, lighting improvements, life safety systems, high-efficiency chiller upgrades, and the integration of Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue Central Utility Plant. The company says it will continue to measure and verify results through an ongoing service agreement.

Apart from improving the NRG Park experience, the project is expected to have a substantial positive impact on carbon emissions. It is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 241,000 metric tons annually, aligning with Harris County’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The plan, launched in January 2023, includes measures such as energy audits and the implementation of energy-efficient equipment in outdated buildings and facilities.

“Our partnership with Harris County and HCSCC’s team to guide the enhancement initiative at NRG Park is paving the way for more sustainable practices across the sports and entertainment sector,” said Julie Brandt, President of Building Solutions North America at Johnson Controls. “We look forward to seeing how this project will inspire other industry leaders and drive smart savings and significant emissions reduction, not only in Harris County but on a national scale.”