A World Cup Brimming with Green Energy
Since it kicked off on June 12, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
has brought high energy to the field—and has scored progress on the
green energy front as well. A case in point is the Mineirão stadium in
Belo Horizonte, the first World Cup stadium powered by solar energy.
The stadium’s 6,000 photovoltaic panels can produce 1,600
megawatt-hours per year (1.4 MW)—enough electricity for 1,200
households, according to the Brazilian federal government’s World Cup Portal.
“As it’s not possible to store all the energy, 10 percent of it will be
used in powering the Mineirão and the rest will be transferred to
consumers,” said Alexandre Maia Bueno, a representative of the electric
utility that built the facility’s solar plant. The Mineirão’s rooftop
panels feed power directly into the grid.
other World Cup venues also have significant installed solar capacity,
including the Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, the Itaipava in Pernambuco,
and Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Maracanã. The largest sports stadium in
South America, the Maracanã was refurbished for the World Cup and will
also serve as a venue for the 2016 Olympic Games.
In the lead-up to the World Cup, Brazil also invested in other
sustainability measures. Mineirão was the first stadium in Brazil to
earn a LEED platinum rating, the highest certification level under the
standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a
voluntary system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to
promote strategies for sustainability in the building industry.
Buildings are rated on a point system that includes such categories as
sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials
and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.
Last year, the Castelão stadium in Fortaleza became the first of the
World Cup venues to achieve LEED certification. Four others have since
earned a silver rating: the Fonte Nova in Salvador, the Amazônia in
Manaus, the Arena Multiuso in Recife, and the Maracanã. According to the
USGBC, in terms of countries’ cumulative LEED-certified space, Brazil
ranks seventh in the world (not counting the United States) on this
environmental index—the only South American country in the top 10.
Brazil has also taken extensive steps to offset carbon emissions
generated as a result of the World Cup, as has the sporting event’s
organizing body, FIFA. The 2014 World Cup, which began with teams from
32 countries, comes to an end on July 13.