To paraphrase the intro to the late, great ABC sports anthology series from the 60s-90s “Wide World of Sports”, we here at GreenSportsBlog “span the globe, to bring you the constant variety at the ‘Intersection of Green & Sports'”. We’ve covered the Greenwashing of the Olympics, an English soccer club that serves only vegan food and the Greening of Rugby. Now, we’re going Down Under to take on the Greening of Cricket.
I have to admit, Cricket is completely lost on me. Wickets? Overs? I have no idea how it all works. But, what I do understand is that Cricket is the 3rd most popular spectator sport in the world, behind only soccer and basketball. Thus it is a big deal when the biggest Cricket stadium in Australia, where the game is very popular, goes greener.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is an icon in Australia. Since 1854 (that’s not a typo), it has been the home of Cricket in Australia as well as Australian Football (or Aussie Rules Football). International soccer matches have been contested there. And, while playing host to the 1956 Summer Olympics, the stadium was home to the largest crowd in baseball history. You read that right–an exhibition game drew 102,000, still a record today. It holds a special place in Australia’s sporting history–and it is going green in a big way!
Melbourne Cricket Ground, built in 1838, capacity over 100,000. It is undergoing a significant green/energy efficiency upgrade. (Photo Credit: Melbourne Cricket Club)
Begun this past May, a comprehensive $AUS8 million energy efficiency upgrade project will result in the 176 year old facility becoming, per the Melbourne Cricket Club and engineering lead Siemens, “one of the most environmentally sustainable stadia in the world.” The upgrade will have a high profile as the Melbourne Cricket Ground will host the Championship match, among several others, of the 2015 Cricket World Cup in February-March.
When one looks at the improvements from the Siemens/MCC upgrade, it seems to me that the $AUS8 million will be going a very long way:
- Existing lighting will be replaced by low-energy lighting technologies (LED’s mainly)
- A state-of-the art building energy and water management system will be installed
- HVAC and ventilation systems modernized
- A new chilled water system put in place
The results are impressive indeed:
- CO2 emissions cut by 19%
- Utility costs cut by 20%
- Water use cut by 5%
Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stephen Gough (l) and Siemens board member Dr. Roland Busch try their hand as cricket batsmen in advance of the unveiling of the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s sustainability program. (Photo Credit: Siemens)
Expected savings from the reduced energy and water consumption over the next five to 10 years will offset the cost. Club ownership has a long term commitment to sustainability, thus the long-ish ROI time frame is workable. Quoted in a December 11 article by Justin McGar in Sourceable, an Australian business publication, MCC CEO Stephen Gough offered that “This commitment follows other recent MCC environmental initiatives, including the Yarra Park (home to MCG and National Tennis Centre) restoration project and water recycling facility, which has seen the MCG save more than 240 million litres of water since it was implemented two years ago…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.”
While Australia’s government is currently in the hands of fossil fuel industry-friendly, climate-change-isn’t-that-big-a-deal types (the developed world’s only carbon tax was discarded as soon as this government took over), it’s a good thing that the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground/Melbourne Cricket Club is ignoring the government and taking the lead on energy efficiency.
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