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Brazil is currently preparing to host two major sports events that will focus the world’s attention on the country’s cities; the 2014 FIFA World, and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo.

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or “Rio + 20 Earth Summit,” is inherently focused on making human settlements more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. The conference marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development that occurred in Rio, when landmark agreements, such as Agenda 21: A Programme of Action for Sustainable Development, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and modifications to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, were reached. Most notably, this conference “mobilized the Major Groups and legitimized their participation in the sustainable development process” and addressed “the lifestyle of the current civilization,” critiquing unsustainable consumption patterns and pressing the need for dramatic behavioral change.[1]

The World Cup is already the largest sporting event in the world (statistic from FIFA.com state that over 3.2 billion people watched at least one minute of the 2010 World Cup).

FIFA has begun working with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Brazil to ensure an adequate integration of environmental matters into the management structure and into the preparation and staging of the event.

This will strengthen the environmental programme for 2014 and help the organisers to keep pace with the various initiatives.

Using solar technology as the keystone, Brazil has set a goal of meeting minimum LEED[2] sustainability standards in all 12 of their venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Large solar and renewable energy companies are beginning to invest large amounts of money into athletic team sponsorships and advertising.

This partnership will benefit us all.

Millions of people each year attend sporting events and watch on TV and it is the best way to spread renewable energy technologies and sustainable living practices than through professional sports teams and large sporting venues.

Brazil is taking sustainable building and renewable energy to a whole new level in 2014.

Of the twelve stadiums that plan to meet minimum LEED sustainable standards, 7 plan to integrate solar into the design.

The highlight will be the Mane Garrincha (pictured above) in Brasilia.

This venue will hopefully be the first soccer stadium in the world to achieve LEED Platinum status, the highest level available.

A 2.5 MW solar array installed on the tensioned canvas roof. This system will cover more than 50% of the electricity needed during peak tournament times and will produce more than enough during normal operation, allowing the stadium to feed the excess into the grid.

Other highlights of stadium construction in Brazil include: the Maracanã in Rio, the host of the final, which will feature a ring of solar panels in the roof.

The Mineirão in Belo Horizonte will have around 1.5 MWp of solar installed on its roof, and the Pernambuco Arena in Recife will install solar heating to supply the hot water in changing rooms, restrooms, and restaurants.

One of the largest drivers of renewable energy at the World Cup and sport in general  is Yingli Solar.

In 2010, Yingli Solar became the first renewable energy company to sponsor the FIFA World Cup[3].

As a result of this partnership, Yingli agreed to install PV Solar technology at 20 Football for Hope centers developed in Africa during the 2010 World Cup.

In October 2007, when Brazil won the FIFA 2014 World Cup bid, the country did not have stadium capable of hosting the finals match, with ten of the required arenas requiring significant renovation or new construction[4].

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) estimated the cost of construction and remodelling venues for the World Cup will eclipse US$ 1.1 billion[5].

This figure, however, does not include the significant investments required to raise the capacity of already-stretched infrastructure to receive half a million foreign visitors and shuttle them – along with three million Brazilian fans – between host cities. The Brazilian government anticipates spending nearly US$ 10 billion on projects specifically related to the World Cup[6].

Claudio Langone, co-ordinator of the Chamber of the Environment and Sustainability for the 2014 World Cup, reported as saying : the sustainability of the tournament will be the best so far achieved, incorporating new approaches to this issue. All the stadiums will meet a minimum standard for sustainability in construction; some that also use photovoltaic power will reach a higher standard.

Brazil will be remembered as the landmark event in solar sports.

Source : Plug n Save Energy Products, Renewable Energy World.com and FIFA

 (this article written for 1BINA.my)

[1] “The History of Sustainable Development in the United Nations,” Rio + 20. Accessed online, 28 Apr 2012.

[2] LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

[3] FIFA.com

[4] “FIFA Confirms Brazil Will Host World Cup Finals,” The Daily Mail Online, October 30, 2007.

[5] “The 2014 FIFA World Cup,” Brazil 2014. Accessed online, 28 Apr 2012.

[6] “Brazil 2014: The preparations begin”, FIFA, October 21, 2010. Accessed online,  28 Apr 2012