Brazil's Estadio Nacional: the first net zero-energy stadium?

Sensemaking / Brazil's Estadio Nacional: the first net zero-energy stadium?

Designed by a Brazilian-Germanic team, the £250 million showpiece combines recycled materials with 2.5MW of solar power.

By Jon Turney / 04 Apr 2013

Designed by a Brazilian-Germanic team, the £250 million showpiece combines recycled materials with 2.5MW of solar power. 

The competitive spirit of international sport extends to venues these days. Following the massive sustainability effort for London 2012, Brazil aims to make its Estádio Nacional the world’s first net zero-energy stadium.

The £250 million showpiece, financed by the local government, is built on the site of the 1970s Mané Garrincha stadium, and reuses much of the material from the demolition to create a 70,000 capacity arena. Created by a Brazilian–German team, the design includes a strip of solar panels encircling the roof that will generate 2.5MW of power, saving £2.4 million a year when the building is open, and paying for itself in a little over a decade. On match days, the solar rig will contribute at least half the stadium’s energy needs, with surplus power to be sold into the grid.

Six other World Cup stadiums will also harness the power of the sun. But while the Maracaná stadium in Rio had hoped to push its solar generation up to 3.3MW with a similar ring of panels, it has now scaled down this part of the design.

Other notable features in the Brasilia venue include an innovative roof that looks like a stretched canvas but incorporates a photocatalytic membrane which breaks down nitrogen oxides, helping to combat pollution from vehicle exhaust. The special roof, which has a retractable centre, is semi-transparent, allowing natural light to filter through and so reduce lighting costs inside. The stadium will also harvest rainwater and use low-flow plumbing fixtures to minimise water use. Fans will also be encouraged to travel to the match as sustainably as possible through the provision of 3,500 bike parking places.

The collection of features in Brasilia is expected to earn the stadium a top rating from the US-based Green Building Council through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] system. – Jon Turney

Photo: Castro Mello Arquitetos

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