Melbourne Cricket Club
Melbourne Cricket Ground

MCG A MODEL OF STADIUM SUSTAINABILITY

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has taken a proactive approach to making the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) one of the greenest sports stadia in Australia.  The commitment to making the MCG a world leader in sports stadium sustainability is a notable achievement given that the ‘G’ is Australia’s largest sporting venue.  The MCG holds a capacity of approximately 90,000 spectators, hosts over 100 cricket and football events annually, contains 28 function rooms, and the maintenance and management of the facility extends to the 60 acres that comprises the surrounding Yarra Park.

Since 2012, the MCG has been operating its own Water Recycling Plant, and more recently a Polystyrene Processing Plant has been installed.  The MCC’s environmental consciousness is a model for how sports venues can be managed by giving consideration to the natural environment at every turn.  These sustainability efforts are driven by two underlying agendas: 1. The goal to remove the MCG from the list of Australia’s top 200-250 energy consumers and water users.  2.  The collective MCC management belief that sustainability is “the right thing to do.”

SIEMENS ENERGY PERFORMANCE CONTRACT – A PARTNERSHIP IN STADIUM SUSTAINABILITY

The MCC and Siemens signed an Energy Performance Contract to be completed by year end 2015.  This unique partnership will ensure the MCG remains as one of the most environmentally sustainable sports stadia in the world.  The project will focus on replacing existing lights with LED lighting, the installation of advanced building management system technology, changes to the heating and ventilation systems and a modernised building control system.  The expected outcomes of the project are to cut utility costs by 20%, water use by 5% and CO2 equivalent carbon emissions by 19%.  All of these environmental outcomes will allow the MCG to recover the initial investment of $8 million within 7 years.  To illustrate what these outcomes represent, the energy saved each year by the upgrades would power 835 houses for a year and run the MCG light towers for 5.75 years.

“The savings that this project delivers means it will pay for itself. It truly represents the ultimate in sustainable efficiency. It was terrific to work with Siemens’ engineers to ensure the MCG remains a world-class and environmentally responsible stadium,” – Melbourne Cricket Club CEO – Stephen Gough.

“The savings that this project delivers means it will pay for itself. It truly represents the ultimate in sustainable efficiency. It was terrific to work with Siemens’ engineers to ensure the MCG remains a world-class and environmentally responsible stadium,”
CEO – Stephen Gough, Melbourne Cricket Club

WATER

With the installation of a Water Recycling Plant, the MCG has cut internal water consumption by 50%.  The plant’s primary purpose is to treat sewage water and to remove contaminants so that recycled water can then be used in the flushing of toilets at the MCG, the washing of the MCG and in the irrigation of Yarra Park.  This is made possible by cutting edge water recycling technology that recycles water to a Class A standard.  Class A standard water indicates the quality of recycled water required for high exposure uses including those in residential developments e.g. ‘dual pipe’ systems for toilet flushing and garden use, the irrigation of public open spaces where access is unrestricted, and the irrigation of crops that are consumed raw or unprocessed). Of greater consideration is the use of E-Water (Electrolysis Water) to clean the concourses and stands at the MCG.  Through the use of E-Water the MCG has been able to completely eradicate the use of chemicals during cleaning, which has resulted in zero chemicals entering the waste stream.

WASTE

The MCC has focused on waste management systems that have ensured the MCG is, and will remain, an industry leader.  This is evident given that 10 years ago the MCG was only recycling 10-15% of waste during sporting events.  Presently, the MCG is able to recycle around 70% of all waste generated during a major sporting event.  The MCC set a target to recycle 65% of all waste generated, for every event, for this past year (2014) and clearly the target was reached.  This is a major achievement given the size of the MCG. This achievement is particularly admirable when compared to other Australian sport facilities as these facilities are only recycling, in the vicinity of, 30% of their waste.

Diverting organic waste from landfill is another area of waste management where the MCG is taking a leadership role.  The Melbourne Cricket Club estimates that, on average, 40 grams of organic waste per person, per event, is generated at the MCG.  At present, the MCG possesses the capability to reduce total waste to landfill by 70% and the Melbourne Cricket Club has future plans to procure an organic waste-processing machine, which would increase the MCG’s capability to reduce total waste to landfill by 80-95%.  Furthermore, this machine would allow for the Melbourne Cricket Club to recapture a soil additive by-product during the breakdown of organic waste.  This soil additive could then be used in the maintenance of Yarra Park.

MATERIALS

Policies and procedures implemented by the MCC are used to guide supply chain management and material sourcing, for the MCG. The policy on material use and the recycling of these materials is stringent. For example, once the technology for recyclable beer cups was made available, the MCG worked with Epicure (Catering Supplier) to procure these cups. Materials used in the redevelopment of the MCG or in the operations of a contractor, and which are being taken out of the venue, must be stripped down or recycled. The MCC reviews their supplier’s policies on recycling, with a particular emphasis on how the supplier or contractor fits into the MCC’s environmental management system and procurement policy. This analysis weighs very heavily when the MCC evaluates a new supplier contract. Critically, the environmental conditions of the contract are just as important as are the financial conditions.

Finally, the MCC’s redevelopment waste policy states that any waste to enter the waste stream during redevelopment activities at the MCG can only contain 5% of contaminants.

FUTURE OUTLOOK

An industry leader in the adoption of environmental sustainability practices, the MCG must be commended for managing its waste stream better than any other sports stadium in Australia. The energy performance contract that was signed with Siemens is yet another example of the MCC’s commitment to ensuring that the MCG remains as one of the world’s most sustainable sporting venues. This is particularly the case as the MCG looks to reduce energy consumption by 20% year on year.

In the future, a waste free MCG is a distinct possibility. However, it is recognised that technology can only take this possibility so far. Therefore, continued fan education and support systems for the sports fan to engage with the MCG’s waste management systems are essential to implement for continued success.

With the MCC’s ambition to remove the MCG from the list of Australia’s top 200-250 water and energy consumers, a look towards the use of renewable energy is a possibility. Discussions surrounding the implementation of renewable energy sources will take place once the Siemens Energy Performance Contract is completed.

Lastly, the implementation of a zero waste policy for both the supply chain and contractor redevelopment activities, is worth future consideration.

 

POSSIBLE NEXT STEPS

Critical next steps in the evolution of the MCG continuing as an environmental steward could include:

  • Development of an MCG Environmental Brand
  • MCG Goes Green Mobile Application
  • Benchmarking Against Leading Global Sports Facilities