Allianz Arena first to adopt LED grow lighting technology for full pitch inside stadium
Allianz Arena have been on a quest to make sports sustainable long before he topic made the headlines. To name just a few of their environmental investments: using recycled plastic for the Bayern Munich shirts, switching the players to electric cars and reducing the stadium’s energy consumption by 60%. One of their next steps is to reduce energy consumption for pitch maintenance, specifically the grow lighting system that is needed to keep the grass growing year round. Therefore Allianz Arena have now officially joined forces with sports grass technology innovator SGL. The global market leader in sports turf grow lights, who have been a supplier to the Allianz Arena for almost 15 years, recently developed a new smart LED grow lighting system to allow for optimal climate control with up to 40% energy savings. Allianz Arena will be the first stadium in the world to adopt the LED grow lighting technology for the full pitch inside the stadium.
Jürgen Muth, stadium manager at Allianz Arena and pioneer of stadium sustainability explains: “The pitch is extremely important to us. We’re here to enable and deliver world class football. Without a good pitch, that is simply not possible. With such an enclosed stadium environment as the Allianz Arena and our cold and dark winters, we need grow lighting technology to grow grass all year round. In 2017 we were the first stadium to use SGL LED technology already, but this new development allows us to go even further. Together we have drafted a sustainability plan to heavily reduce power consumption by treating the full pitch with the new data controlled LED440’s.”
Founder of SGL, Nico van Vuuren, explains that sustainable pitch management is as much about data as it is about the technology: “Every stadium is different and every pitch has different light and heat requirements. We developed a growth algorithm that specifically calculates how much light and heat is needed for every part of the pitch, based on many different variables. Think of climate and weather conditions, playing damage and shade for example. This data is used to very specifically determine where and when the LED lights need to be used and when the heating needs to be turned on. With the algorithm we can not only forecast but also guarantee the pitch quality and energy savings. This guarantee is quite unique.” Mr Muth adds: “When SGL made the calculation for us, it showed significant energy savings. With this new system, we constantly measure the grass temperature and the smart control automatically turns on the heat when needed.”
Even though the grow lighting system is a big part of it, the sustainability plan is more than supplying and using the new technology. Mr. Muth: “We decided to join forces to help the industry forward. SGL have over 20 years of experience in sport turf technology on all continents and are at the forefront of sustainable pitch technology. Bayern Munich is one of the biggest football clubs in the world and at the stadium we are pioneers in sustainability. Together we can help the sports industry move towards a more sustainable pitch and stadium management.” Van Vuuren adds: “In the end, we all need to do our part in order to make a real difference. That’s why we’re eager to work closely together.”