Bright Lights... Big Savings
September 3, 2011

In Spokane, a public performing arts center held great potential for energy efficiency upgrades given its age. Watch how improving the efficiency of the facility reduced the amount of electricity and natural gas used, thus helping to offset rising energy prices.

The Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD) in Spokane, Wash., manages the INB Performing Arts Center, Spokane Convention Center and the Spokane Arena - all with an eye towards sustainability. Key to that is making smart choices when it comes to energy.

The INB Performing Arts Center was originally built for the World’s Fair in 1974 when buildings weren’t focused on energy efficiency.  Now, it’s a different story. Yearly investments in energy efficient lighting, systems and practices have since helped reduce energy use in the INB Performing Arts Center, and sustainability goals and efficiency improvements have also helped the SFPD manage energy use in its other venues. The capstone was receiving LEED certification for the 2007 expansion of the Spokane Convention Center.

“The Spokane Public Facilities District and Dave Gebhardt put their core values into practice every day as they manage their facilities for sustainability and energy efficiency. Their vision and commitment benefits not only their facilities and guests, but also our community.” - Doug Kelley, regional account manager for Avista Utilities

The Underlying Problem: As an aging building, the INB Performing Arts Center held great potential for energy efficiency upgrades. Improving the efficiency of the facility would reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas used, thus helping to offset rising energy prices. And, efficiency improvements would meet the Sustainability Goal of implementing conservation measures that would reduce energy use.

The Carbon Math: Partnering with their energy provider Avista Utilities, the SPFD received guidance, technical expertise and financial incentives for efficiency improvements to the INB Performing Arts Center and the newer Spokane Convention Center. The results of the improvements at just those two facilities have been impressive – reducing electric use by almost 2.7 million kilowatt hours and natural gas by almost 96,000 therms. That’s enough energy to power 225 homes for a year and provide natural gas service for a year to 130 homes.

Key Players:

Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD)

Featured in video: Kevin Twohig and Dave Gebhart

The Spokane Public Facilities District's mission is to operate the finest public assembly facilities and provide the highest quality of Guest Services in a manner that ensures profitable operations and financial sustainability, returns value to the stakeholders, and maximizes economic impact to the Inland Northwest.

Avista Utilities

Featured in video: Doug Kelly

Avista Corp. is an energy company involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy as well as other energy-related businesses.  Avista Utilities is our operating division that provides electric service to 360,000 customers and natural gas to 321,000 customers.  Our service territory covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million.  Avista's primary, non-utility subsidiary is Ecova, an energy and sustainability management company with more than 500 multi-site commercial and utility customers, representing more than 450,000 sites. 

West Coast Entertainment

Featured in video: Jack Lucas

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Author Bio

Bobby is former Solutions Stories and Media Manager with Climate Solutions. In that role, he worked to identify and engage new audiences for our programs and campaigns throughout the Northwest, with a focus on the Solutions Stories.

Bobby spent six years as the National Representative at the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition (SOS), mobilizing support to restore the Columbia-Snake River Basin, a watershed home to some of the world’s best habitat for wild salmon and steelhead in a changing climate.

After receiving his degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 2003, he advocated on behalf of working people and the environment. In addition to SOS, Bobby has worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Local 503) and America Coming Together, and volunteered for the Trout Unlimited, Elders in Action, and UNITE HERE.

Bobby hails from central Pennsylvania and has lived in Oregon since 1998. When he's not working, Bobby can be found with his partner Jenny and their cat Jove, playing music with friends, out and about on his bike, or working in the garden.