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Dome Flicks Switch on Carbon Emissions

7 February, 2008
Melbourne’s Telstra Dome has become one of the first sporting arenas in the world to offset its carbon emissions after entering into an arrangement with Australian climate change company Carbon Planet. The announcement came as the Dome unveiled its new artificial lighting rigs which have been purchased from Dutch company Stadium Grow Light Concept (SGL) to aid surface wear and recovery.

The Dome has become the first stadium in Australia to purchase the technology which has been used by a number of elite sporting venues in the UK and Europe for the past couple of years. English Premier league football giants West Ham United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are just some of the clubs which utilise such technology.

Following extensive research into the use of artificial lighting by arena manager Gavin Darby and chief executive Ian Collins (AM), the Dome purchased a total of 15 rigs from SGL at a cost of $2.2 million. Taking delivery of them in January, the rigs were switched on for the first time on 7 February and will be employed throughout the 2008 AFL season.

The set up includes 13 MU360 rigs, which illuminate an area of 360m2, and two smaller MU18 rigs which light up an area of 18m2. The larger rigs will be used down the centre of the ground and northern pockets, while the smaller units will be specifically used for high wear areas such as goal squares and the centre circle.

The rigs will be officially deployed in March with three of the MU360 rigs used to cover six locations at the northern end of the arena. That will increase to seven rigs in 12 locations by April and come May all 13 MU360 rigs will be deployed across 24 locations.

It is hoped that the lighting rigs will make a significant dent in the Dome’s turf replacement programme. Last year the Dome replaced about 8700m2 of turf and it is hoped that figure will reduce to around 2000m2 once the lighting rigs are fully employed.

As well as the lighting rigs, the Dome has also purchased an SGL Analyser which includes sensors for relative air humidity/temperature, soil humidity/temperature and moisture. Importantly, it also contains several light sensors, including one installed on the roof of the venue. This will allow the comparison of actual natural light levels against modelled data which will enable the Dome to increase or decrease lighting hours to ensure optimal use of the system.

All data collected, in combination with actual lighting hours recorded manually for each deployment position, is also collated through an SGL Portal which is accessed via the Internet. This information will form a database from which to review the use of the technology, refine rig deployment and enable the Dome to benchmark against European and UK venues using similar units.

Committed to ensuring a carbon-neutral impact for the lighting rigs, Telstra Dome has entered a partnership with Australian company Carbon Planet to provide carbon offsets for the energy used by the lights. It is believed that Telstra Dome has become the first stadium in the world using such lighting rigs to fully offset their carbon footprint.

Based on Carbon Planet figures, the annual carbon output of the lighting rigs, which will account for less than five per cent of the Dome’s energy needs, will require 2224 NGAC (NSW Greenhouse Abatement Certificate) carbon credits.

NGAC’s are a particular kind of credit issued by the NSW Government and are generated, traded and regulated under NSW law. Each NGAC abates a single tonne of carbon dioxide for 100 years which is a stronger requirement than for a Kyoto Agreement-compliant credit. Carbon Planet is also providing additional advice on carbon reduction initiatives across the whole stadium.

Collins welcomed the partnership with Carbon Planet adding it was a further step in maintaining responsible environmental practices at the venue which hosts upwards of 80 events annually.