The Challenge

Built in 1998, Kids First Sports Center is an 108,000-square foot multi-use facility with gymnastics, cheer, basketball, and swimming areas. In addition, the facility has a restaurant, a pre-school, and specialty retail shop.

It is home to the prestigious Queen City Gymnastics club, founded in 1975 by owner Jeff Metzger, an industry pioneer. Since 1991, Jeff has hosted his nationally acclaimed “Boot Camp” at Kids First, a three-day leadership and marketing seminar for Sports Facility leaders attending from all over the world. Over the past decade as the facility was expanded and daily traffic increased, ownership sought to keep operating costs down while improving the guest experience.

Updating the lighting and insuring the mechanical system was operating at peak performance was important. Being a good steward of the environment was an important aspect of the owner’s philosophy, and finding the right financial partner to facilitate building improvements was critical.

The Solution

Kids First selected NEC to perform a building audit and energy use analysis in 2005. The audit has been updated regularly as the building has changed in size and utilization. Taking advantage of Duke Energy Smart Saver Program, Federal and State incentives, and using the Ohio PACE program for funding in 2017, building lighting has been upgraded twice, from HID to Fluorescent in 2005, then from Fluorescent to LED in 2017.

A rooftop Solar PV array of 100 KW was installed in 2012, and a second array of 150 KW was added in 2017.






Lights Retrofitted in Gym

Total Fixtures Upgraded


Improved Lighting


Decreased A/C load

NEC Improved Light Levels & Reduced Operating Costs

Lighting Upgrade

Upgraded lighting from NEC improved light levels while lowering energy costs.

Smart HVAC Control Systems

Intelligent controls maximized AC system and reduced demand.

Surge Suppression

Installation of surge suppression system cleaned up facility power.

Put your roof to work

Implementation of 100 kw solar array provided clean energy power plant and paid for roof replacement.

Ready to see what NEC can do
for your facilities?

Optimal savings

Recognized by Ohio PACE as one of the first and most successful PACE-financed projects in the Cincinnati area, Kids First is on the cutting edge of total building energy optimization.

The combined benefits of the LED lighting and Solar PV has reduced energy costs by over 50%. In addition, building light levels and climate comfort have been dramatically improved, with lighting maintenance virtually eliminated.


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National Energy Control
8361 Broadwell Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45244