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Manchester City and Etihad Stadium Implement a Winning Sustainability Program

The Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Photo by Bernard Randall / CC BY-SA 3.0

The colors of Manchester City might be sky blue and white, but that hasn't kept the Etihad Stadium, the club's home venue, from going green. A top club of English Premier League and European football, Man City sees a future of sustainable energy production as part of its overall winning culture.

The work to create a future where energy needs are met in-house is well underway. Man City is turning to several innovative energy systems to lower emissions, reuse resources, and even serve energy back to the community.

The Challenge of Making a Football Megaplex Sustainable

Crafting and executing a long-term sustainability plan is no small feat for the fifth-largest venue in the Premier League.

On game days, Etihad Stadium has the capacity for more than 55,00 energy-consuming spectators.

And the fans are coming out in droves as Man City commits to winning in 2019. The club is leading the Champions League Group C table and remains on the verge of qualifying for the knockout round after a draw with Atalanta, according to the main bookies. Pep Guardiola's side won the 2018-19 Premier League title in May (Man City's fourth overall) and is a top contender again this season.

In addition to a hard-fought battle on the pitch, fans expect an encounter with a world-class sporting venue. They don't want to feel like they're walking into a conservation zone. Any sustainability practices the stadium adopts must function covertly and not impede with the fan experience.

Further complicating matters is City Football Academy, a football training facility located adjacent to Etihad Stadium. Together, the two venues comprise the 600-acre Etihad campus.

Man City Partners with Eaton to Drive Results

In 2017, the club began a multi-year partnership with Eaton, a leading power management and storage company. In its role, Eaton shares best practices and advises the sustainability strategy at both the stadium and the adjacent City Football Academy facility. Together, the two venues comprise the Etihad campus.

For example, combined heat and power systems (CHP) and absorption chillers have been integrated into the club's existing energy systems to transfer electricity to the grid. Trigeneration CHP currently provides City Football Academy with 60 percent of its energy needs.

The Etihad campus is now fitted with efficient rainwater harvesting systems, air-source heat pumps, and LED lights.

Man City hopes the green initiatives lead to a future where energy needs are met in-house.

All wastewater collected from ground activities is recycled and repurposed across the campus, thanks to an 8 million litre rainwater harvesting reservoir and borehole system.

The installation of 5,272 LED lamps has shaved energy consumption at Etihad Stadium by an impressive one million kW hours.

Man City's Etihad Stadium
Photo by Bernard Randall / CC BY-SA 3.0

Previous Sustainability Studies Set the Table for Success

Eaton strengthens Man City's quest to adopt sustainability--an effort which means starting from zero. The club has been concerned about their grid power consumption for years.

As part of a decade-long energy-use assessment, Etihad campus officials studied several clean energy futures, including the use of PV solar arrays installed on the stadium's roof. That plan was shuttered due to untenable installation costs given the existing roof structure.

With solar off the table, management has identified wind-generated power as a viable source of renewable energy. The club obtained permission from Manchester City Council to build-in 2.3MW of wind capacity on the campus, although construction has yet to begin.

The Eaton partnership also has Man City considering battery-powered energy storage systems. Eaton manufactures residential and industrial power storage solutions using second life batteries from Nissan.

Eaton has experience delivering power storage to large football venues. The multinational company supplied a 4MWh commercial battery system to Johan Cruyff Arena (formerly Amsterdam Arena), home of AFC Ajax.

That system employs 280 LEAF batteries from Nissan and is the largest business installation of its kind in Europe. Johan Cruyff Arena and Etihad Stadium are of comparable size by capacity.

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