Sunlight on the roof and wind in the turbine – inspiring power.

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The goal to generate more renewable energy than we use prompted the Amsterdam ArenA to undertake numerous measures, and quite ambitious ones at that, such as covering the entire roof with solar panels.

However, other measures, such as using renewable heat and cold, wind and solar resources, are equally appropriate for one of the pillars of our sustainability programme: energy. The broad notion of energy can be expressed in terms of kilowatts and as enthusiasm, drive and inspiration as well.

The past reporting year has been full of energy as Amsterdam ArenA achieved a number of ambitious plans. Not only did these plans yield clean energy, they also brought inspiration to the people involved.

Full of energy:

Power generation on the roof

On one of the longest days of the year, 20 June 2014, the Amsterdam ArenA proudly commissioned its photovoltaic rooftop array. That day, 4,178 solar panels generated some 7,500 kWh of clean energy. This achievement constituted a major step towards the ArenA’s ambition of becoming a climate-neutral stadium.

‘It fills me with great pride to witness this special moment,’ declared Henk van Raan, Project Director of the Amsterdam ArenA sustainability programme. ‘It took a lot of time to make this happen, but we did it!’

Strong business case

The decision to install solar panels on the non-moving part of the roof did not materialise out of thin air. ‘We had considered it before, but it was hard to build a strong business case. The project was financed by the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund (AKEF) and the Amsterdam Investment Fund (AIF). This took us one step closer to installing the rooftop solar system. The fact that we were granted a subsidy under the SDE (Renewable Energy Production Incentive Scheme) made the envisaged return period feasible. Then, our Green Deal partner Nuon could make purchases at competitive prices, enabling the installation to begin on 26 March 2014.’

Visibility inspires

After many years of preparation, it was high time for tangible results, says Van Raan. ‘In the past few years, we have taken many measures, most of which were not immediately apparent. Installing the solar panel roof turned this around and made our efforts visible.’ Van Raan observes that the rooftop solar system generates more than just electricity; it helps energise and inspire people. ‘Its impact is tremendous. I get phone calls every week asking me how we managed to do it. That’s why we decided to leverage our knowledge and experience to enhance the sustainability of the Southeast District (Zuidoost). At the Captains’ Dinner, the gathering of big companies from the region unanimously applauded this ambition. And we hope that a visit to China’s largest solar panel manufacturer, as part of Amsterdam’s trade mission to China at the end of 2014, will help us further along the path towards our goal of solar power for the entire urban district.’

‘It’s wonderful that we’ve been able to install our solar panel rooftop. It makes a significant contribution to achieving our sustainability goals and shows that when we make promises, we keep them.’
— Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam ArenA
‘The municipality is glad we’ve been able to support ArenA in realising their ambitions. The installation contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions, enhancing the innovative qualities of the city and inspiring other businesses and residents to start up their own energy project. The city of Amsterdam was crowned Solar City 2014. The large, eye-catching photovoltaic array on the ArenA rooftop contributed significantly to the city’s success in this. It renders Amsterdam more sustainable, more resilient and future-proof, and that’s why I applaud the project wholeheartedly.’
— Abdeluheb Choho, Alderman responsible for sustainability

Renewable electricity

ArenA generates an annual total of some 930,000 kWh of electricity. The panels prevent the emission of 430 tons of CO2 – equivalent to the annual emissions of 180 cars. The rooftop generates enough power to meet about 10% of the stadium’s electricity requirements. ArenA awarded the contract to install the photovoltaic system to Nuon. As the general contractor, Nuon worked with Oskomera, BAM and Arcadis. The Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund and the Amsterdam Investment Fund provided funding for the project. Since January 2014, the rest of the energy requirement has been supplied by a renewable source as well: Dutch wind energy.

“ArenA is ook voor Nuon een mooie showcase”

‘ArenA is a beautiful showcase for Nuon as well’

Since 1 January 2014, Nuon has supplied Amsterdam ArenA with not only district heating and cooling, but wind energy as well. Power is generated by the Oudendijk wind farm, near Amsterdam. Given the choice, ArenA would have liked to build a wind turbine right next to the stadium. The demand for 100% Dutch wind energy is a rising trend, says Peter Smink, CEO of Nuon. ‘The Oudendijk wind farm enables us to meet this need. ArenA represents a magnificent showcase for our high standards and best-practice performance.’

‘We’re seeing a growing need in the market for organizations – like ArenA – to set themselves apart by their commitment to sustainability,’ says Smink. ‘ArenA is a front runner in this respect, constituting a valuable demonstration project for us. It provides us with a particular opportunity to show how we can combine various technologies and options, ranging from solar energy through district heating and cooling to wind energy. To us at Nuon, this is where the added value comes in of listening properly and really understanding the need, and then finding the best possible solution in the set framework. That’s just how our partnership with ArenA started off.’

Local focus

Smink understands ArenA’s desire to have a wind turbine installed close to the stadium. ‘Of course, they would prefer to generate their own power using their own wind turbine and their own photovoltaic panels. That’s an excellent way to enhance commitment and boost brand awareness. However, land-based wind farms in the Netherlands, especially in the built environment, are not as efficient as we would like them to be. So, together with ArenA, we studied other alternatives to respond to their needs. The result is that we now supply wind energy through our Oudendijk wind farm.’

Demand versus capacity

Nuon is increasingly confronted by a highly specific demand for a certain type of energy. Smink explains, ‘For instance, many companies only want Dutch wind energy. Unfortunately, we can meet this need to a very limited extent, as demand is growing faster than capacity. And every megawatt hour of electricity generated in the Netherlands can, of course, only be sold once. Besides this, we also have to meet energy needs when there is no wind, and the solution we offer must be financially feasible for customers. We always endeavour to provide the best possible advice in this respect.’

Always looking ahead

As Green Deal partner of the ArenA, Nuon does a lot more than just provide solutions and install systems. ‘We’re always looking for new opportunities to make improvements and involve more companies around the ArenA in the process of optimising sustainability. Commitment to sustainability is an excellent strategy to maximise brand awareness, and Nuon is more than happy to contribute to this.’

Monitoring to enhance efficiency

Monitoring to enhance efficiency

The ArenA Business Club, the main building of Amsterdam ArenA, is equipped with an advanced building management and control system for maximum energy efficiency. Dynamic displays allow staff easy access to power consumption data. The ArenA intends to cut its energy consumption by enhancing employee awareness and motivation. In the past year, the system was optimised to perfection.

‘Energy efficiency requires a relentless focus,’ Henk van Raan of Amsterdam ArenA points out. ‘Even with an advanced system that has numerous sensors, it is essential to keep looking for opportunities for improvement. Saving energy begins with monitoring.’

From management to control

This is why the ArenA meticulously monitored the power consumption of the ArenA Business Club throughout 2014. ‘Twice a day, the systems report back to us so that we can see if we are still saving energy or whether we are missing opportunities for improvement. Monitoring lets us improve our control. And as we collect more data, the results are improving as well. We are taking great strides in moving forward from management to control. That’s how we managed, for instance, to reduce our electricity consumption in the past year by 350,000 kWh compared to the previous year.’

Susceptible to human error

Sensors prevent power consumption in empty rooms, but of course, energy saving remains in the hands of people. Van Raan says, ‘We still have light switches, of course. For example, we decide whether we switch on the stadium lights two hours or only ninety minutes before the match. Efficiency options depend on things like safety regulations, but it’s still up to us, in consultation with the user, to weigh the options and find a proper balance.’

Awareness and behaviour

As efficiency is partly in the hands of people, and so susceptible to human error, the ArenA employees can access current energy management data through dynamic displays. ‘We use these displays to make our people aware of the power we both generate and consume. This insight changes our behaviour in a positive way. It not only motivates us, it also shows our customers that we find sustainability a really important matter,’ concludes Van Raan.

Energy in numbers

Energy consumption & CO2 emissions

Natural gas consumption

Total consumption district heating

Total consumption district cooling

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