5 Steps to a Carbon Neutral World Cup in Qatar

Qatar 2022, Al-Wakrah Region, Zaha Hadid, AECOM, carbon neutral world cup, carbon neutral building standards, renewable energy, Qatar, Doha, public transportation

Qatar has promised a carbon neutral 2022 World Cup, but we know from the Masdar City experiment how hard that is to achieve. Still, here are five dubious steps AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects are reported to be taking to support that goal with their joint design – Al-Wakrah Stadium.

Shaped like a dhow out of deference to Qatar’s long fishing history, the Al-Wakrah stadium will incorporate shading,  along with aerodynamic and mechanical cooling components to ensure that the spectator stands and the grass pitch never rise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Slated for construction in Al-Wakrah, the southernmost host city for the 2022 World Cup less than 10 miles outside of the capital Doha, the stadium will seat up to 40,000 spectators; half of those modular seats will be removed and shipped to developing countries at the tournament’s close.

Qatar 2022, Al-Wakrah Region, Zaha Hadid, AECOM, carbon neutral world cup, carbon neutral building standards, renewable energy, Qatar, Doha, public transportation

But how – pray tell – does the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee imagine that they will achieve a carbon neutral sporting event? Well, that depends. It turns out that there are varying degrees of carbon neutrality.

Some carbon neutral standards require only that a building produces no greenhouse gas emissions while operating, but this fails to consider the energy required to produce materials (such as concrete, which has a high embodied energy footprint), transport materials, and construct the building.

Other standards are more rigorous and take into account the entire cycle of a building, along with the surrounding transportation infrastructure. In order to be truly carbon neutral, according to the Stern Review published by the British government in 2006, a building must generate 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional one. 

Qatar 2022, Al-Wakrah Region, Zaha Hadid, AECOM, carbon neutral world cup, carbon neutral building standards, renewable energy, Qatar, Doha, public transportation

Based on the following five steps that the design team will take to edge towards carbon neutrality with the Al-Wakrah stadium,  as outlined by Trade Arabia, we suspect that if Qatar can come even close to carbon neutrality, they will do so by observing the most lenient standards.

1. 15 percent of the tournament’s energy will be generated by on-site renewable energy sources.
2. Water use will be reduced by 60 percent.
3. 15 percent of the permanent structures will be built using reused or recycled material.
4. A full 90 percent of construction waste will be diverted through smart design and waste management. 
5. Structural timber will be sourced sustainably.

Admittedly, these will be admirable achievements if attained, and with AECOM on board they may well be.

But Qatar has a very immature supply chain of green building materials, which means the majority required to build nine stadiums, along with $140 billion in additional infrastructure such as a new airport, rail system, roads, and a new seaport, will have to be shipped in. This greatly increases the embodied energy footprint.

Construction is expected to break ground in early 2014.

:: Trade Arabia

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