Refurbished for the 2014 World Cup, the Mineirão has become the first stadium in Brazil to be awarded the Platinum Seal of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), which is the highest category of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate. The stadium in Belo Horizonte has met eight items considered to be a pre-requisite for the certificate and also displayed sustainable innovations that were not required by USGBC.
USGBC is in charge of the certificate, which is used in 143 countries to encourage sustainable projects and construction work, as well as operations. Indeed, the council awarded the Mineirão the highest grade, the Platinum Seal.
Sustainability related efforts started during refurbishment works, which started in January 2010. Over 90% of waste generated as a result of renovation works were reused or recycled. For example, more than 50 thousand seats of the old Mineirão were donated to gymnasiums in towns in the state and all metal waste was forwarded to recycling plants. In addition, a system for washing the wheels of trucks leaving the building site was set up, thus, avoiding waste from being carried out onto the stadium's surrounding area. In fact, the system used a green system, which reuses water through tanks and pumps, supplying average savings of 18 thousand litres a day.
Since renovation works, a selective rubbish collection system was implemented, which is used until today and on match days. Another environmentally friendly initiative was the building of water tanks, able to store up to 5 million litres of rainwater. Rainwater is reused to fill bowls, urinals and irrigating the pitch. The system is able to withstand up to three months without rain. The process leads to a reduction of up to 70% in water consumption at the stadium. The Mineirão also has automatic urinals, taps and showers, which reduce consumption in about 10% in relation to the volume of water used in the lavatories.
The wood removed from the surrounding area was reused by handcraft artists from the state of Minas Gerais. The ground’s old façade was preserved and as a result, not much rubble was produced. If the Mineirão had been demolished, 32,500 cubic metres of concrete were expected to be produced, in addition to 3,610 tons of steel.
Furthermore, a photovoltaic plant was installed on the stadium’s roof, able to turn sunlight into electricity. The 1.6 megawatt panels are able to cater for 1,200 medium sized households. The stadium’s lighting system is highly efficient and does not consume a lot of power, as it uses a smart grid.
“Mineirão's LEED Platinum certificate is a way of acknowledging efforts made by the government and all those involved in Brazil’s preparation for the World Cup. Since the beginning of the refurbishment woks, everyone worked to ensure that environmental impacts were minimised as much as possible through the use of sustainable techniques. The result of this effort is that the Mineirão ended up with a solar power plant able to generate 1.4 MW of electricity. This same effort ensured sustainable certificates for the Fonte Nova Arena, the Amazonia Arena, the Pernambuco Arena, the Maracanã and the Castelão”, stated the Minister of Sport Aldo Rebelo.
“One of our biggest concerns was always our commitment with our environment, so we did everything aiming to achieve non-polluting energy efficiency. This was a victory, as the new Mineirão uses an environmentally friendly design", stated Otávio Goés, technology manager of the Minas Arena - group in charge of the stadium's refurbishment works and its operations for the next 25 years -.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international certificate and environmental guidance system used in 143 countries. It has the aim of encouraging the sustainability related changes to projects, the construction of buildings and their operation. Developed by United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the certificate arrived in Brazil in 2007. Currently, ninety buildings are certified in the country, making Brazil the fourth nation with the most number of certificates.
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) had already announced on 17 June, that other World Cup stadiums had been awarded the Silver LEED certificate: the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, the Pernambuco Arena in Recife, the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador and the Amazonia Arena in Manaus. The Castelão in Fortaleza carries the LEED Certified seal.
“In the extent that world's gaze falls upon Brazil, these projects are doing more than just showing how the LEED classification system may be applied and adapted throughout the world. In fact, it also shows Brazil as a leader in relation to cutting-edge high performance sustainable buildings”, said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC founder and chairman.