Design & Development

Oxford United details plans for UK’s first all-electric stadium

Featured image credit: Oxford United

League One football club Oxford United has today (Wednesday) announced plans to build the first stadium in the UK that is powered solely by electricity.

The 16,000-capacity stadium, which Oxford hopes to move into by 2026, will feature 1,200 solar panels to generate energy. Air source heat pumps at the venue would also reduce CO2 emissions by 80% compared to gas boilers.

United is hoping to achieve net-zero by 2040 and the club said its new stadium would be in the top 1% of sustainable stadiums globally. Today’s announcement comes after Oxford last week became the first League One club to sign the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework.

Oxford has previously said that its new stadium will set benchmarks in the fields of inclusivity and sustainability, and more details have been revealed today. The club would use a low-carbon energy supply to create an ‘all-electric’ stadium, with power also generated by solar panels.

Oxford is planning on building the stadium at the Triangle, near Kidlington. No high carbon intensity fossil fuels, such as gas, will be used at the stadium.

The stadium roof will feature 3,000 square metres of solar panels, which would generate enough energy to boil around three million three-litre kettles per year. Modern building fabric and heat recovery solutions will also be incorporated into the design to maximise thermal efficiency.

Other elements of the stadium include drainage systems, rain storage and recycling solutions to reuse rainwater, while plans to enhance biodiversity on the land at the Triangle would achieve a “significant” net gain.

A fully automated building energy management system will also be employed to monitor, control and report energy use to ensure optimal operation across all seasons and long-term minimisation of energy consumption.

Jon Clarke, development director at United, said: “The standout element of the stadium is it will be the most sustainable mid-sized sports venue in the country. We want to make the most of the opportunity to create something special – it would be one of the greenest football stadiums to be built.”

Clarke added: “The stadium design has sustainability and visitor experience at its core. We’ve maximised modern technology, design and progressive thinking to create the benchmark for future design of stadiums with the protection of our planet in firm focus.

“By avoiding natural gas usage on site and by using highly efficient equipment to serve a high-quality building, the carbon emissions associated with this unique venue will be radically reduced resulting in a very low impact home.”

The plans for the stadium also include a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health and wellbeing space, gym and a community plaza. The club is currently preparing to submit its full planning application.

United currently plays at the 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium. Last month, the club adjusted its plans following a public consultation process that saw its project team attend more than 150 meetings.

Oxford announced in June last year that AFL Architects, Ridge and Partners, Mott MacDonald and Fabrik would make up the team seeking to deliver the new stadium.