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Co-op Live to go all-electric

Oak View Group (OVG), developer of Co-op Live, has detailed plans to make the Manchester venue the UK’s first all-electric arena.

The 23,500-capacity facility, currently under development, is designed to become the UK’s most sustainable arena when it opens in 2023. Co-op Live is situated on the former site of the Bradford Colliery on the edge of Manchester city centre, and next door to the Etihad Stadium, home of Premier League football club, Manchester City.

Coal was mined on the site from at least the 17th century, and the colliery was active until 1968 after helping to power the industrial revolution in Manchester and beyond.

Once complete, Co-op Live intends to become an iconic landmark for the transformation and reimagination of post-industrial urban landscapes in the North of England, in the same way that Battersea Power Station has been reinvented in London.

As the UK’s first all-electric arena, the venue aims to symbolise the transition from the UK’s industrial heritage, powered by polluting fossil fuels, to a brighter future powered by clean energy. Unlike other arenas across the UK, Co-op Live has been designed without any gas supply serving the site.

The venue will use electricity for everything from air-source heat pumps for heating and domestic hot water, through to cooling and catering, unlike traditional arenas which tend to use gas boilers. The rooftop solar panels will be used to power day-to-day activity, with green electricity from the grid topping up capacity for events.

The current design achieves over 50% reduction in energy usage compared to a similar arenas, in large part due to the switch away from using gas boilers. There will also be significant air quality improvement due to the avoidance of on-site fuel burning.

The design will enable a 23% reduction in carbon emissions and, crucially, by building electric-based infrastructure from the very beginning, the arena will be on track towards achieving net zero carbon by Manchester City Council’s target of 2038.

Key features of Co-op Live include:

100% electric building

Air source heat pumps

8,883m2 solar panels

100% rainwater harvesting

2,791m2 of greening

240 covered cycles spaces and encouragement of low carbon transport

LED lighting

BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating

Zero waste to landfill

Zero food waste

Co-op Live is currently around one year into the build phase. The commencement of construction stimulated £150m (€176.4m/$204.5m) in orders to local firms in the North West, as part of OVG’s commitment to local procurement and minimising the venue’s carbon footprint. There is also a fleet of electric vehicles delivering materials to the site.

Mark Donnelly, chief operating officer of OVG International, said: “Climate change is the single largest problem facing the planet today and we take our responsibility in creating a greener world seriously.

“In Co-op Live, we are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events. I’m proud that it’s going to be the UK’s first all-electric arena and we’re also implementing a range of other features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and extensive green spaces to make sure it’s the UK’s most sustainable.”

UK beverages giant Diageo last week entered into a partnership with Co-op Live. Diageo will serve as the arena’s official drinks partner when it opens in 2023. Its Guinness brand becomes the official beer partner of Co-op Live, with the deal also incorporating Diageo’s full portfolio of spirits such as Johnnie Walker scotch, Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin and Captain Morgan rum.

In May, City Football Group, which owns Manchester City, became OVG’s equal joint venture partner and investor in Co-op Live. Pop star Harry Styles has also invested in the arena.

Image: Co-op Live