While the football battle of the continents continues, 50 percent of this headline will be true no matter how many goals die Mannschaft scores against los Albiceleste this Sunday. The energy efficiency part that is. Maracanã, South America’s largest stadium and the host of the final world cup game, is making history again 60 years after its completion. The US green building council announced recently that the iconic building, among four other world cup stadiums in Brazil, achieved LEED certification due to several design upgrades that result in lower resource consumption.
The greening of these World Cup facilities is the perfect showcase for sustainable business opportunities in Brazil and beyond. World Cup sponsor Yingli Solar, which many of you might recognize from the ad banners during games, partnered with Light ESCO, EDF Consultoria and the State of Rio de Janeiro to equip Maracanã’s roof with 2,380 square meters of solar panels, generating enough energy to power 240 homes and avoiding 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The Maracanã Solar project was developed by the same company that designed the new roof structure, German SBP.
The Maracanã wasn’t the only stadium that incorporated green features for the World Cup. The Castelao Arena in Fortaleza features a 68 percent reduction in drinkable water consumption, a 13 percent reduction in annual energy consumption and 97 percent of the project waste was diverted from the landfill by recycling and reusing construction and demolition materials.
Twenty percent of the building materials of the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, meanwhile, was made from recycled content. The stadium also diverted 75 percent of the project’s construction waste from the landfill and purchases 35 percent of its power from renewable sources like solar and wind.
LEED (Leardership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy criteria and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Companies choose LEED certification to guarantee cost savings, achieve higher property values and publicly showcase that they are a sustainable business. LEED Silver, Maracanã’s label obtained, is the third best out of four possible certification levels.
The IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department supports energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across Brazil and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Brazil Energy Efficiency Guarantee Mechanism for instance can help building owners and developers interested in obtaining LEED certification to finance the investments and guarantee the energy savings. For larger projects in energy efficient construction and renewable energy the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas (C2F) can offer senior or subordinated debt at below market rates to incentivize climate change investments.
Brazil is at the forefront of the movement for high-performing green buildings and is among the top five countries worldwide with LEED-certified projects. Its signature stadium, the Maracanã, will continue to serve as a major sporting venue for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and proves that sustainable solutions like renewable energy, selective waste collection systems and sustainable certification make business sense.
As a German, I could not resist the temptation to use my nationality in this post’s headline and I am optimistic and excited about tomorrow’s game. But no matter who wins, the World Cup has provided the opportunity to make an impact on energy use through building efficiency and renewable energy use.