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Implementation of ISO 50001 energy management system in sports stadia
A case study on Aviva Stadium’s recent implementation of the ISO 50001 energy management system, and the potential challenges and benefits of implementing it in sports stadia
Many modern stadia around the world consume large amounts of energy during their day-to-day operations. With the cost of this energy constantly on the rise, the challenge of managing this uncontrolled cost has become increasingly more important for the successful and sustainable operation of these facilities. It is essential that some form of energy management system be embraced by these stadia.
Responding to these challenges Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, implemented both the BS 8901 (now ISO 20121) sustainable management system and the ISO 50001 energy management system.
Responsible for implementing ISO 50001 at Aviva Stadium, Aidan Byrne, the stadium’s maintenance officer, and Eamonn Williams, the facilities manager explain that the estimated energy costs foreseen by the designers had been greatly underestimated, and that energy would be a major concern.
Waste of energy
Despite Aviva Stadium being a state-of-the-art facility, encompassing some of the best plant and equipment available at the time of construction, the designer’s main priority was to create a stadium that could cater for up to 50,000 people, up to 25 times a year, and not for the hosting of meetings, incentives, conferences and events (M.I.C.E). But M.I.C.E are the second most essential revenue stream for the stadium, and are much more frequent throughout the year.
As a result, the stadium consumed over 19 million kWh of energy during its opening year. To address this issue the decision to implement the ISO 50001 energy management system was made in August 2011, and final certification to the standard came on the 25 September 2013 making Aviva Stadium the first stadium in the world to have achieved third-party certification to the ISO 50001 standard.
Figure 1 outlines the stadium’s annual energy consumption over the four years 2010 – 2013. It is clear that 2010’s consumption was much greater than the subsequent years following the implementation of ISO 50001 in May of 2011, however the rise in gas consumption in 2013 was a direct result of the record low temperatures in January – April of that year.
Figure 1: Aviva Stadium's annual energy consumption (2010- 2013)
Due to the steady decline in energy consumption in recent years it was calculated that more than 7,758MWh of electricity and 6,317MWh of gas was saved over the three-year period following the initial implementation of ISO 50001.
Despite this steady decrease in energy consumption the constant upward trend in the market price, or Average Unit Price (AUP) of energy, over the last number of years has offset much of the potential financial savings at Aviva Stadium. Figure 2 demonstrates the trend between Aviva Stadium’s annual energy costs and the rise in market price.
Figure 2: Aviva Stadium’s annual energy costs
Even though some savings were curbed by the constant rise in energy prices, had energy consumption at Aviva Stadium stayed at 2010 levels (through the lack of energy management), the potential energy costs encountered by Aviva Stadium would have been significantly higher.
Therefore the potential savings (or costs avoided) as a result of implementing the ISO 50001 energy management system can be calculated by multiplying the average unit price of both gas and electricity for each year (2011 – 2013) by the energy consumption in 2010. As a result the energy costs avoided by Aviva Stadium over the course of its ISO 50001 implementation were calculated to be €1,088,244 (US$1,152,766) thus far.
Operational efficiency and costs
Other economic benefits related to the implementation of ISO 50001 at Aviva Stadium were in relation to operational efficiencies achieved through the elimination of costs associated with external auditor assistance, which was required for their existing sustainable management system BS 8901 (now ISO 20121).
By implementing ISO 50001, the internal auditing process for both management systems was improved allowing the operators of each system to audit the other. This eliminated the need for external auditor’s assistance when conducting thorough and unbiased audits, thus avoiding costs.
Additionally this correlation between both management systems meant that the training required for the staff conducting internal audits could be packaged together by the chosen service provider, who could then deliver on-site training tailored specifically for the internal auditing of both the ISO 50001 and ISO 20121 management systems. This resulted in a significant reduction in the overall training cost as opposed to sending each system operator away separately to attend off-site training.
Reputation and market share protection
The reputation of Aviva Stadium is deemed second to none with regard to the implementation of ISO 50001 as it was the first stadium in the world to achieve third-party certification to the standard. This was confirmed by a senior scientific officer on environmental management for the Federal Environment Agency in Germany (equivalent to the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA).
This official was also part of the ISO/TC 242 energy management technical committee, which was set up to create the ISO 50001, who explained that there is no centralized database tracking third-party certifications around the world; however, an informal list of certifications is maintained on behalf of the German government. This list is the closest thing to a centralized database that could be found and based on that information, Aviva Stadium is the first stadium in the world to achieve third party certification to the standard.
The implementation of ISO 50001 has improved Aviva Stadium’s status with its own key shareholders. The FAI and IRFU finance the stadium's energy cost evenly between them. Certification to ISO 50001 exhibits to both organizations that the use of energy within the stadium is being managed to an internationally recognized standard.
Achieving third-party certification to ISO 50001 standard is also currently deemed to be a competitive and market share advantage to Aviva Stadium, but the sporting sector is slowly shifting towards these certifications being prerequisites when tendering for major sporting events or tournaments.
A recent example of this was the successful bid to host a package of games during the UEFA Euro 2020 Football Championship by the FAI, Dublin City Counsel and Aviva Stadium where UEFA had a requirement that “a minimum of 50% of energy used by the host stadium comes from renewable energy sources”, and were also extremely interested in the fact Aviva Stadium was already certified to both the ISO 50001 and BS 8901 standards when assessing its suitability as a host stadium.
International Organization for Standardization, 2011. ISO 50001:2011. s.l.:s.n.
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