COVID-19 provides the stadium and arena industry the “chance to do something different” from a sustainability perspective, according to Ramboll.

In a session entitled ‘Sustainable Post-COVID Recovery’ at TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020, the engineering, architecture and consultancy company addressed how a recalibrated, rather than conventional, approach can pay dividends.

“As the sustainable society is one that balances the human, environmental and economic wellbeing, stadiums and arenas need to consider this so they can become sustainable venues,” said Ramboll director, Martin Willis, during the presentation which can be viewed in full below.

Ramboll stated sustainable opportunities in the modern venue design age lie in five key areas. In terms of maximising venue usage, Willis pointed to Ramboll’s work on the new basketball arena (pictured) being developed for Liga ACB club Valencia Basket. With limited fixtures in the way of actual basketball games, Willis said it was very important that other events were catered to through the design process.

He added: “Maximising usage can lead to a positive impact from a human perspective through diverse usage, on the business model through increased revenue, and in creating multi-use buildings aids environmental sustainability.”

The Valencia arena was also cited as an example of turning a venue ‘inside out’. “We looked to maximise the model of turning the retail, dining and bars inside out, with a significant number of outlets located on building’s perimeter,” said Willis.

Ramboll has also worked on UROS Live, an under-construction 15,000-seat arena in Tampere, Finland, that is set to be inaugurated in December 2021. Willis said: “This is a great example of unlocking a difficult site and providing a new district in the city. Creating a new meeting place in the city, bringing local residents and tourists together.”

Willis said the new arena being developed in the Welsh city of Swansea follows similar principles to Tampere. “Users of an outer park will experience aspects of events held inside through a digital façade, further enhancing interaction between venue and community,” he stated.

Moving on to the need to create healthier and happier spaces, Adam Selvey, design excellence director at Ramboll, said COVID-19 has meant venues need to engage with their local community more than they used to.

Selvey said this can be achieved through designing in community activity space and integrating grass roots facilities around sports and entertainment venues. He added that the creation of co-working and ‘startup’ opportunities within a venue, not only encourage local businesses to grow but also potentially generate more revenue for a stadium or arena.

When looking at reducing a venue’s impact on the environment, Selvey said a delicate balancing act needs to be made. He added: “Energy reduction is potentially counter-intuitive to usage of the venue, as we want to maximise that to enhance its embodied energy.”

Stating that the decarbonisation of the energy grid will inherently mean that a venue’s energy usage is greener, Selvey added that energy storage is important. “A zero carbon venue isn’t just about reducing energy, but also making sure it has the opportunity to take power or heat at the optimal time,” he stated.

Selvey also pointed to ‘triple top line opportunities’ available in sustainable venue design, whether that be through the choice of materials used or the sharing of building services and infrastructure with other businesses.

He concluded: “With COVID-19 resetting the world it’s now more important than ever that we think about how to recalibrate the recovery to be more sustainable and resilient in the future.”

Attendees are able to watch sessions from all three days of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020 for the next 30 days through the event platform

The Summit returns to Manchester – in person, in the real world – on June 22-23, 2021.

Main Image: HOK/ERRE/Licampa