October 30, 2015

A Green World Cup

Large-scale sporting events have never historically been particularly environmentally friendly.

The combination of transportation, increased population, large-scale construction and the pressure of strict deadlines typically means massive energy use, with tons of carbon being released into the air.

Or in the case of the 2014 FIFA World Cup – 2.72 million tons.

For perspective, the month-long event will produce an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide to 560,000 cars in a year.  The event is expected to produce almost twice as much carbon emissions as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Eighty percent of the total emissions will come from transportation alone, as fans and players fly between the twelve stadiums spread across the sprawling South American country.

While this may seem like bad news, this World Cup will, in fact, be one of the most environmentally-conscious events ever staged.

All stadiums are intended to achieve a base-line standard of sustainability, with 10 of the 12 total stadiums having applied for LEED status, which indicates a highlevel of sustainability. The Garrincha stadium in the capital is seeking LEED Platinum status; it would be the first soccer stadium to be granted this accreditation.

Two stadiums are currently powered partially by solar electricity. The first, “Estadio Mineirao” has incorporated their system into the grid – this means that only about ten percent of the energy will go to the stadium; the rest will go to the consumer. The second, the “Arena Pernambuco” in Recife, has a slightly different system, using as much of the energy as it can while the stadium is in-use, and diverting it all to the grid when not in use.

More plans for solar will be revealed soon for the remaining stadiums; the goal is to have all the stadiums utilizing solar at some level.

The incorporation of renewable sources within the World Cup is not the only way that FIFA is attempting to make the Cup “greener” – they have pledged to totally offset the CO2 produced during the games, at an estimated cost of $2.5 million.

The solar farms on the stadiums will continue to produce energy long after the last Cup match is over as well, ensuring a consistent value to the often underutilized arenas, especially in the context of Brazil’s renewable energy goals.

MassCEC focuses on many aspects of clean energy, and one of the most important is our investments in the advancement and deployment of innovative clean energy technologies. As we work towards these goals, the technology behind the social and economical trend towards renewable energy can only improve, and with it, the carbon footprint of events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.