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For Qatari residents: Do you prefer a summer or winter World Cup 2022?

Matches Made in Eco-Heaven

Written by  Author |   Thu, 03 May 2012 11:11

Measuring the environmental-friendliness of Qatar's FIFA 2022 Stadiums

In December 2011, it was officially announced that Qatar had won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022. From that moment on, failure was not an option! The country fought hard for and sought this lofty goal from the word "go" and though it had to foot a pretty sizable bill for this, a great measure of creativity had to also be on offer to gain that vote of confidence. Some $80 billion worth of construction projects are in the pipeline leading up to the World Cup.

Now that the responsibility of hosting this global event has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the country, the real work begins. Already Qatar had the onus of proving that it had the plans and technology to build state of the art stadiums able to overcome what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. Working against Qatar was nature itself. Despite the harsh and extreme weather conditions, it was agreed that the games would take place in June or July of 2022, during which temperatures could exceed 50 oC. To answer that challenge, Qatar is in process of building five new climate-controlled stadiums. It plans to use solar technology to power carbon-neutral technology that cools stadiums and makes sure the temperature doesn't rise above a manageable 27 oC during daytime hours. But cooled stadiums are not the only reasons why FIFA agreed to award the deal. Building something that colossal would never have passed if it were not labeled "green", and Qatar had the plans to prove it can do it.

So how Green are these new stadiums ?

Construction based on green standards is not only about the structures themselves but also have to take into consideration anything that is affected by them. When the German architectural firm AS & P – Albert Speer & Partner – designed the new stadiums, they had the QSAS as their guide. The Qatar Sustainability Assessment System is a green building certification procedure developed specifically for the state of Qatar; catering for its geographical location, climate and everything else that gives Qatar its unique identity. The primary objective of QSAS is to create a sustainable built environment that minimizes ecological impacts while addressing the specific regional needs and environment of Qatar. QSAS consists of a series of sustainable categories and criteria, each with a direct impact on environmental stress mitigation. Every category measures a different aspect of the project's environmental impact.

I. Building Sustainable Sites

  • Site Selection & Alternative Transportation: When going green, site selection is very important. The chosen location must reduce the need for private transportation and help prevent an increase in air pollution. Which is why all stadiums are located an hour's drive from the FIFA World Cup headquarters allowing fans to attend more than one game per day. Furthermore, a new metro measuring in length 320 km will be built in 2021 creating additional access to the football fans. All stages will be connected to the highway system in Qatar and providing easier access for spectators. Some of the sites are located near the marina giving even more options when it comes to transportation. For instance, the brand new Al-Shamal stadium is accessible by water taxis, reducing traffic significantly during peak hours. As for allotted parking spaces, bigger is not always better. All the stadiums have large parking capacities but not over impressive in terms of size. This is intentionally done to encourage people to abandon their cars and use any and all public transportation available to reach the stadiums.
  • Light Pollution Reduction: Light roof colors absorb less sun, thus reducing heat. All stadiums are built with solar rooftop arrays that make sunlight accessible. This, according to QSAS, encourages nocturnal activities on site and reduces infrastructure cost and energy use. Though this might seem cruel for the athletes and audience who will be sitting for hours under the scorching desert sun, necessity is the mother of all inventions. Scientists at Qatar University have found a solution to this problem by making artificial clouds. YES, Artificial Clouds!! Qatar University designed an artificial cloud layer to provide shade for each of the stadiums and training grounds during the World Cup. The clouds will float using helium through an intricate system above the playgrounds. The "Clouds" are made of 100 % light carbon and will be remote controlled. Powered by four solar-powered engines, they will hover in the air to protect the stadiums from direct sun rays, giving an overcast feel during the games.

II. Water Efficiency

Water is a major resource that could be easily squandered when it comes to gigantic structures that support tens of thousands of people. Any small wastage will be multiplied and the ensuing loss could be great. That is why introducing technology that saves as much water possible is very important.

  • Innovative Wastewater Technologies: Qatar will introduce indoor vacuum sewer systems that require only one liter of water per flush offering real water savings over conventional technology by using air as a transport medium instead of the precious liquid. Several stadiums have already adopted this technology. Plus this same water can be collected for irrigation purposes. After treatment, this irrigation water can be used again for other applications.
  • Water Use Reduction:In order to reduce water consumption, low water fixtures will be used in various forms in restroom areas which include sensors and hand motion detectors insuring that no additional water would be dispensed unnecessarily.

III. Energy & Atmosphere

  • Renewable Energy: Using renewable energy is what this project is all about. When the games are on, all the stadiums will use solar power to produce energy, ensuring a zero carbon footprint, also known as carbon neutrality, which is achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of the carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered. Using this energy will allow a temperature reduction from 45 to 25 oC, which would be comfortable for players and spectators during matches. And when there are no games, excess energy will be transferred back to Qatar's main electricity grid for use in other locations.

IV. Material & Resources

  • Building Reuse: Once the World Cup is over, many modular components of these stadiums are to be dismantled and the parts will be sent to developing countries for reuse in order to promote football development.
  • Construction Waste Management: The Scale of the project generates waste from the used raw materials and manufactured ones which is why during the construction phase there is going to be a massive effort geared towards managing the discarded objects, by collecting and processing them through recycling.
  • Local Regional Material: Material selection will not only be concerned with providing green products but also dealing with the nearest suppliers. Selecting local or regional suppliers is going to be procurement's main concern.

At a cool $80 billion, Qatar is seriously committed to building green stadiums no matter how red hot it naturally gets and before any yellow card is issued during matches. Not only did Qatar silence the naysayers who thought the country's scorching summer heat would melt any hope of winning the bid, but its leaders were also adamant the event would be held responsibly and beyond the call of duty. In this case, the end truly justifies the means as nature celebrates even before the heralded games begin.

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WhyQatar Magazine is an environmentally conscious publication
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