Champions off the pitch

Being football fans, my son and I often talk about the game, and although we support different teams, we can appreciate any team’s performances when they’re good. He supports Tottenham, and so has looked at the documentaries and videos of the new stadium. He found it fascinating and relayed what he’d seen to me, so I have been looking at how modern technology is being used at the new stadium.

It’s an awesome structure that is fit for purpose, using some fantastic technology and is setting the standard for future projects.

Building a stadium is a mammoth project in itself, without the added difficulty of having to demolish the old one first, in a highly built up and populated area. But Spurs managed it and the new stadium is stunning.

This was, as any new building is, a fantastic opportunity to “get it right”. By using the most energy efficient sources, for instance, the club have achieved 100% renewable energy emissions. Clever insulation and solar shading reduce their demand for more energy. Of course, it uses LED lighting throughout, including the floodlights, and the stadium uses 50% less carbon dioxide than similar structures built only 10 years ago.

The training centre hasn’t been forgotten, solar panels and air source heat pumps have been installed to utilise the renewable energy available.

The club encourages supporters to avoid using their cars to get to matches, instead using public transport or cycling – new bike racks have been installed for the benefit of those that use pedal power. Staff are also encouraged to cycle to work, and again, bike racks are available to them.

Electric vehicle charging points are in place at all club sites, and any club vehicles are electric. 

Vegans are catered for; staff and supporters alike have a varied menu to choose from. Any food left over on match days is given to charity for distribution in the local area.

Low food miles are important to the club, so all food is sourced as local as possible, as sustainably as it can be.

The club has its own microbrewery, and waste from this is sent to feed the pigs that are farmed within 50 miles of the stadium - pigs that are used in the pork products sold at the stadium. 

At the training centre, hundreds of trees and thousands of plants, including hedges and wild flower gardens, have been planted to create a habitat for local plants, insects and animals. Bats and bugs have their own hotels, and the whole project is monitored to see how the landscape changes. Rain is harvested and an extraction system uses bore holes to draw water from underground.

Back at the stadium, water is used wisely, the toilets use low-flow fittings and the urinals are waterless.

Recycling plays a big part in reducing the club’s carbon footprint. From collecting waste products to sourcing ethically produced plastics, to educating young people about the effects we have on the planet.

A reusable cup scheme has been introduced in the admission areas on match days. Once empty, the cups and beer containers should be placed in the appropriate bins. These are then taken to a washing facility and returned ready for re-use.

Plastic cutlery, straws and stirrers have been replaced with wooden or paper alternatives, and any wrapping around food is fully compostable

Water bottles for the players have been replaced with recyclable cartons.

All shirts worn by the players, or the replica shirts bought by the fans, are made from 100% recycled polyester. 

Tottenham have joined The Race to Zero, a UN initiative set up to become net zero carbon. The target is to achieve half its current emissions by 2030 and to be at zero by 2040.

They are leading the way towards the target as they have finished at the top of the EPL Sustainability League Table for the third year running, with rivals Liverpool. 

Whilst it may be easier to implement things like solar panels and insulation at the time of construction, it’s not impossible to fit these retrospectively, so theoretically any club could make the changes. It should be much easier to change the type of cutlery used or arrange recycling facilities for any club or indeed any organisation – so hopefully all clubs can follow Tottenham’s lead and challenge them for that top spot of the Sustainability League. It just takes planning and determination and Premier League clubs have the resources to do their bit.

Any mass gathering like a sporting event uses huge amounts of energy, water and plastics, as well as potentially generating eye watering piles of waste. All we need to do is transfer the same principles that we use at home – saving energy, recycling and using water wisely – and scale it up to the levels required for large organisations.

As individuals we do our little bit to try and make a collective big difference – so when 60,000 individuals get together at an event, we can make a bigger difference all in one go.

So not only do Tottenham win on this, we all do.

And it's nice that Tottenham are winning something!