How major sports teams are leading the energy-saving revolution

Sports teams have some of the highest energy bills in the world. With upwards of 80,000 fans attending each game, vast amounts of energy have to be harvested in order to accommodate for it all. Thousands and thousands of air miles are clocked up every year by fans and players alike. Food, drinks, and toilets cater for fans, while groundskeepers, in conjunction with an array of machinery and fertilisers, work tirelessly to provide a supreme surface for play. Somewhere amongst all that energy consumption, there must be some room for streamlining, right? Thankfully, these teams are taking steps to remedy this.

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Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich – Allianz Arena 

Metal halide fixtures have traditionally dominated the lighting of major sports stadiums, but LED lighting is slowly but surely turning the tide. Without needing 30 minutes to warm up to full brightness and with far greater energy efficiency, LEDs are saving time and thousands of kilowatts of energy. Bayern Munich has teamed up with electronics giant Phillips to launch an expansive layer of lights that completely covers the outer shell of the Allianz Arena. Energy efficient LED lights result in a 60% energy saving, and 38000 of them combine to form the impressive outer membrane which is capable of reproducing an astonishing 16 million colours.

San Francisco 49ers – Levi’s Stadium

The first NFL stadium to achieve the LEED Gold status for new construction, the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium has a tremendous capability for energy-saving. One such innovation is a geothermal hot water pump that absorbs the energy generated by the sun drenched ground that surrounds the stadium and uses it generate a supply of hot water. Testament to the success of the stadium is the fact that they are able to recycle a startlingly high 85% of their water.

Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City – Melbourne Rectangular Stadium

The Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is certainly the most visually striking piece of architecture on the list. Home to four Melbourne teams across football and rugby, the unique geodesic design allows light to filter through to the pitch whilst covering the spectators. In a similar fashion to the Allianz Arena, the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is also kitted out with thousands of LED lights on its exterior, giving it the ability to perform ‘light shows.’ Prominent artists have worked with stadium engineers to create specific sequences for different events.

Forest Green Rovers – New Lawn

While we appear to be slacking when it comes to energy saving compared to our neighbours across the pond, some teams are still taking a stand. Conference Premier side Forest Green Rovers became the first in the UK to play on an organic football pitch. They believe the higher cost of organic materials is off-set by the savings made from the long-term benefits to the soil. Not content with just that illustrious title, the club has also installed 170 photovoltaic panels and a solar-powered autonomous lawnmower.

From harnessing solar energy to maximum effect to making use of more efficient lighting fixtures, it is obvious that many sports teams are keen to be more energy efficient. Often blamed for their excessive waste of energy, it is pleasing to see sports teams taking steps to rectify this issue.

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