Whitecaps' Nash keeps saving energy... off the pitch

Vancouver Whitecaps Martin Nash races past a defender to make a cross during a recent USSF Division 2 contest.

Martin Nash gets a new challenge, plus a new home with a new roof, when the Vancouver Whitecaps move up to North America's top soccer league and into a renovated BC Place Stadium in 2011.

Meanwhile at the real home of the Whitecaps captain, things are changing, too. A Team Power Smart leader very much inspired by his eco-conscious wife Emma-Tymm Nash, the 34-year-old midfielder is pleased to report that a high-efficiency furnace and a tankless hot water heater are having a big impact on the family energy bill.

"The money saved from reduced energy bills adds up surprisingly fast, and eventually the upgrades pay for themselves," says Nash, a five-time all-league selection in North American pro leagues.

Nash understands that energy efficiency saves a few bucks as well as helping BC reach its ambitious energy conservation goals. And from the time he joined the Team Power Smart leader team, along with his NBA star brother Steve Nash, Martin has been a model leader.

It's for that reason that Power Smart jumped at a chance to showcase Martin in June's monthly Team Power Smart contest. Check out the details, answer a question about Martin, and – if you're a Team Power Smart member old or new – you'll be entered in the June draw for four platinum tickets to a Whitecaps game plus a Martin Nash Whitecaps jersey.

The Nash path to energy efficiency

As soon as they joined Team Power Smart, Martin and Emma embraced the challenge of reducing their energy consumption. Living in an already-efficient, built-in-2005 North Vancouver home, the family of four – the couple has two young sons – did everything they could to be Power Smart.

A partial list of early changes included:

But Martin and Emma never stopped looking for ideas, and they made a couple big moves made possible in large part by government rebates through the provincial LiveSmart BC and the recently discontinued federal EcoENERGY Retrofit program.

Switching to a high-efficiency furnace [PDF, 100 Kb] and tankless hot water heater isn't cheap, but the payback time on upgrading to such products was sped up by the rebates.

The Nash family has been conservative with their hot water usage for some years now, so a tankless hot water system has really made a lot of sense. Instead of a big water tank that needs to be constantly heated 24/7, a tankless system is essentially hot water on demand, and so, it only uses energy to heat the hot water as you use it.

Martin sees these kind of investments in his home as being more than worthwhile, as not only do they save his family money in the long run, but they also support the cause of energy conservation in the here and now.

Bring on the MLS!

Nash will be 35 when the Whitecaps first suit up to play in the MLS, the top rung among pro soccer leagues in North America. And he has worked hard for the honour of being captain of the Whitecaps at such a pivotal moment in the team's history.

Fifteen years into his career, the Victoria native can look back on a journey that started with the Vancouver 86ers and eventually took him to England with the likes of Chester City, Macclesfield Town and Stockport County, where he was part of the team that achieved promotion into the English First Division.

With almost 40 appearances for Team Canada on the international stage, Martin has the skills and valuable experience to lead Vancouver's charge into the MLS. And after a 2009 season that saw him make the all-league second team, he's got plenty of life left in him.

"We have decent support now, but I think once we go to that next level [fan support] will just grow like it has in Seattle," Martin told the MLS Insider blog in March when asked about the move up to the MLS.