Applying leading technology and complying with ever-stricter requirements.

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Sustainability is an integral part of our procurement policy, even if it seems hard at times to reconcile different interests, in current agreements, for instance. Sometimes more and better facilities for visitors lead to peaks in energy demand. For example, more technical installations for better connectivity in the stadium. That’s why it is essential to include sustainability considerations in procurement decisions.

Our choice in favour of the most energy-efficient 4G and WiFi antennas is a case in point. This will enable us to provide good connectivity in the stadium, and at the same time minimise electricity consumption. While our efforts to include sustainability as a vital element of our procurement policy do help us to save energy, they have a far wider effect.

In other areas, such as transport management, water consumption, catering, cleaning and waste disposal (and separation), we are making great progress as well. Last year, these efforts won us a Golden Green Key Certificate, the highest tier of this international sustainability quality mark for tourist and business accommodation.

Full of energy:

Improved connectivity contributes to sustainability

The breakthrough of the smartphone resulted in a tremendous strain on the capacity of mobile networks. This effect was particularly strong in locations such as the Amsterdam ArenA, where tens of thousands of people want to use their cell phones simultaneously in a relatively small area, compromising mobile access. This prompted the Amsterdam ArenA to invest in a 4G solution. In combination with a new WiFi network, this solution is ready to face the future and is in perfect alignment with the stadium’s sustainability ambitions.

Remarkably, in the new 4G wireless infrastructure the three providers – principal contractor KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile – all connect their equipment to one central antenna system. This joint solution saves energy and so is far more sustainable than each provider installing their own separate system.

Continuous guidance

Obviously, a 4G network uses electricity but at the same time, connectivity contributes to both visitor satisfaction and sustainability. Martin Wielaart of the Amsterdam ArenA explains, ‘It lets us “guide” people from their homes to the event and back again, without interruption. On the mobile network, for instance, we can tell them about the most efficient travel options to return home after a concert. Another example that comes to mind is the option to offer people at the event a digital magazine instead of the traditional hard copy.’

Research into the scalability of the infrastructure

For sustainable connectivity, the Amsterdam ArenA is conducting research in conjunction with KPN into possibilities to make the 4G infrastructure scalable. ‘The network is not always heavily used. In fact, most of the time it is not,’ Wielaart says. ‘The ability to ramp down capacity when demand is low will lead to significant energy saving. Scalability has always been a key objective for telecom providers, but this new installation has triggered them to step things up a notch.’

Stadium demands that WiFi network complies with certain standards

Negotiations started with Huawei on the construction of a WiFi network in 2013. Edwin Diender, CTO of Huawei Enterprise Netherlands says, ‘In a stadium, you obviously have to consider a large number of people in a relatively small area.

And the materials and dimensions of the building dictate certain requirements for the dimensions of the wireless network. Suspending equipment from the ceiling, as you would do in a regular office building, is simply not an option in a stadium. So, for this project we developed special mounting brackets to put components up in places that are hard to reach even with scaffolding.’

Think green, act green

Theo van Andel, marketing manager at Benelux Huawei Enterprise, explains why Huawei was involved in the project. ‘Without a doubt, the Amsterdam ArenA looked for a partner whose sustainability ambitions matched their own. “Think green, act green” plays an important part in our philosophy. Besides quality, all of our production activities focus on minimising power consumption. It starts as early as with the chip set in the equipment. Even if a port is not used, normally it still drains electricity. But our equipment automatically goes into power-saving mode when it detects that a port is not in use. Eventually, this results in a highly energy-efficient network infrastructure.’

Machine to Internet

With a view to the future, the WiFi network will ensure better connectivity in the stadium, Martin Wielaart adds. This improvement not only benefits people who want to use their cell phones. ‘It also benefits applications in the field of “machine to Internet” and facilitates better power consumption monitoring for both the whole installations and their individual components. This will let us improve building system management and, eventually, we’ll be able to adjust the system to such a fine degree that it will be controlled fully automatically. For such a huge stadium as the ArenA, this means significant savings in energy consumption.’

Golden Green Key: Evidence of sustainability

Golden Green Key: Evidence of sustainability

The Amsterdam ArenA’s sustainability measures have paid off: the stadium has been awarded the Golden Green Key Certificate. The Golden Green Key is the highest tier of this international sustainability quality mark for tourist and business accommodation.

Gaining the Green Key Certificate proves that the ArenA meets strict standards for power consumption, transport management, water consumption, catering, cleaning and waste disposal (and separation), to name but a few. Organizations are required to implement a set of minimum measures to be awarded the Green Key Certificate. They can also take additional measures that determine the tier of the certificate: bronze, silver or gold. Implementing a large number of sustainability measures has won the Amsterdam ArenA the highest possible tier: the Golden Green Key Certificate.

Delivering concrete evidence

Frank de Leeuw of the Amsterdam ArenA recounts how they won the Green Key Certificate. ‘It took us over a year of working behind the scenes. The Green Key organization demanded concrete evidence of the measures we had taken. For instance, we had to demonstrate that our improvement to the toilet flushing system really did reduce our water consumption. Our caterers and suppliers are a great support in this, providing us with certificates on paint, cleaning products, quality fresh vegetables and fish, for example. This is how we show that we’re all in it together, that we’re fighting for a common cause and that we’re committed to sustainable waste management and sustainable procurement.’

Annual re-evaluation

The certificate the Amsterdam ArenA was awarded for the ArenA Business Club is valid for one year. ‘There is an annual re-evaluation,’ says De Leeuw, ‘to check that we have maintained or improved our measures. Of course, we aim to hold onto our Golden certificate long into the future.’

Sustainable procurement criteria

Included in the strict Green Key standards are the sustainable procurement criteria. De Leeuw declares, ‘Because we’ve signed long-term agreements with our suppliers, we can’t change existing contracts overnight. When the contracts are due for renewal, we will definitely impose tighter sustainability criteria. This will lead to better, more sustainable products, a reduction in transport movements and a reduction in packaging materials.’

Green Key certification

Green Key is an international label. There are over 2,600 Green Key accommodations around the globe and over 600 in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the body responsible for assessment and evaluation of quality mark applications and awarding of certificates is the Foundation for Environmental, Safety and Quality Certification (Dutch abbreviation: KMVK).

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