When stadiums were first developed, their focus was to provide enclosure for athletes’ play and little attention was given to spectators. Those facilities have now evolved. Especially in the last decades we have witnessed stadiums becoming more than just facilities for organized sport; they are now offering a gathering site for people with shared interest, provide economic benefits to the surrounding community, and most importantly benefit from the advancements in architecture and engineering.
The new stadiums are often mixed-use, iconic, fan-centric, but also corporate enough to turn a match day profit. We often look at new spectacular designs that enhance the spectator experience. Innovation has occurred inside the stadium too, as arenas have started offering entertainment spaces and activities that people can enjoy before the match, but also on non-game days.
This evolution not only has affected architectural design in stadiums, but also HVAC design, as the more modern these facilities have become, the more they have started integrating building services.
HVAC systems are part of the services that modern buildings cannot miss as they are needed to meet occupants comfort expectations, especially in facilities aiming at offering experiences.
Thermal comfort in buildings such as stadiums is a very relevant aspect. HVAC systems can be important allies in the design of a comfortable experience for spectators and occupants.
HVAC systems, though, can also have a significant impact on operating costs and then on profits. For this reason, there are aspects that are worth taking into account when designing HVAC systems for stadiums.
Thermal comfort and Indoor Air Quality
As mentioned, modern stadiums are more and more mixed-use facilities including shopping areas, bar and restaurants, VIP lounge and sky box areas. All of those, aim at offering a premium experience to spectators, who can benefit from those areas and services before, during and after the game – or even during non-game days. Of course, a premium experience cannot be separated from thermal comfort, which needs to be guaranteed in all those areas, in every season, as stadiums no longer are sports facilities only, but can also accommodate corporate meetings, events, concerts and shows all year round.
Comfort cooling and heating are then required in these facilities, and, depending on the need, chillers and/or heat pumps that are properly sized and can meet the cooling and heating demand of the different areas of the stadium are needed.
The same goes for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), which is another very important aspect to consider, as the multitude of people in the different areas of the stadium deserve to breathe clean air.
That is one of aim of well-designed ventilation systems, which are great tools to clean air in indoor environment through air-exchange and air filtration.
Read more here about the importance of Indoor Air Quality
Another interesting aspect that Daikin is very much focused in, in IAQ monitoring, as monitoring and tracking is fundamental to taking actions and make improvements.
By integrating the Daikin IEQ sensor, the HVAC system will benefit from an Indoor Environmental Quality Sensor able to monitor and track indoor conditions through a set of indoor air quality parameters, so facility managers can have a clear idea of the Indoor Air Quality status in the building they manage.
Click here to know how Daikin can help monitoring IAQ
While indoor cooling and heating are nothing new, lately we have also seen stands and pitch in stadiums being air-conditioned. That might be new, but we have seen this increasingly more in the last few years, especially in those countries where extreme heat makes air conditioning necessary, so people can normally gather and engage in activities with no harm for their health.
Think about stadiums gathering over 80,000 people in ambient conditions regularly over 40 °C – 80,000 bodies breathing in extreme heat, generating more heat and humidity, and making the environment unhealthy. That not only cannot be the image of premium experience but would also be harmful for people.
HVAC systems can help avoiding similar scenarios, helping cooling-down seats and pitch areas in stadiums, also providing them with the right amount of air exchange to guarantee the comfort and safety of both spectators and athletes.
Air-conditioning an entire stadium – especially when it does not have a retractable roof – might be considered detrimental from an energy consumption perspective.
There is also another aspect to consider, though: life as we know it could not be possible in extreme heat without air-conditioning.
Once established that, we can analyze how modern HVAC systems can help satisfying air-conditioning needs while still being energy efficient and environmentally sustainable.
For starters, HVAC systems should be considered as an integral part of a building design that aims at achieving the best energy efficiency.
So, once aspects such as
- stadium orientation based on sun movement
- color schemes of the building and surfaces design aiming at reflecting heat and/or divert winds
- presence of a retractable roof
- photovoltaic panels to generate electricity that will power the stadium
are considered, aspects that are more closely related to the HVAC system can be addressed.
Exactly like the building design, the HVAC design must aim at high energy efficiency, which can only be achieved by using a mix of advanced technologies targeting every need that the project might present.
Whether air-cooled or water-cooled units are included in the HVAC design, inverter technology is a must, especially for buildings that present frequent variation in load demand, based on occupancy and distribution of the occupant in the different areas of the building.
In fact, inverter technology, by varying the frequency of the motor power supply, modulates the compressor rotational speed (RPM) and in such a way controls the compressor capacity.
As chillers and heat pumps installed in stadiums are usually destined to operate most of their time at part load, inverter technology is a valuable solution to raise units’ efficiency.
Then, to make the whole HVAC system more efficient, it is important that the water flow in the HVAC system can vary depending on the actual load demand of the building. A Variable Water Flow system is the perfect solution to this need, as it allows to modulate the quantity of water flowing through the system, and ensures that pumps work as efficiently as possible, reducing their impact on energy consumptions.
The same goes for Air Handling Units (AHUs) that might be included in the HVAC system. Choosing models featuring high efficiency inverter fans and heat recovery can help considerably reducing energy consumptions.
Heat recovery, for instance, is an option that allow AHUs to recover heat from the exhausted air thanks to heat exchangers. These, then, transmit the heat from the stale air flow being ejected to the clean air flow being fed into the building, without any contamination between the two air streams. This process notably improves efficiency of the building.
And then, another aspect that might need to be considered in such complex HVAC systems, is modularity.
Modularity can ensure the possibility to have further control on energy consumptions by activating the units in the system based on the areas of the stadium that actually need cooling or heating in a certain moment.
That can be achieved by splitting the load on a number of units that can be activated or not based on the actual need the facility might have.
Modern stadiums’ load typically vary depending on the season or the specific event they are accommodating. This has a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the building. So, it is important consider the variation in load demand of the entire building. For a more efficient HVAC system, it might be useful to split the load across multiple units of different sizes and control them as they were a big single unit.
The Daikin intelligent chiller manager (iCM) is designed to control, sequence and optimize the performance of multiple chillers, harmonizing the way single chillers in the plant operate, and allowing them to reach their goal with minimum effort, both in terms of energy consumption and mechanically. All this, of course, with a positive impact on chillers’ durability and efficiency.
Monitoring, preventive maintenance, and reliability
Remote monitoring & control are very important for any HVAC system of the size of those that might be installed in stadiums.
We all know monitoring and tracking not only helps understanding things, but also helps taking actions to make improvements. This is why it is important to have a system that can be monitored, controlled even from remote and can allow facility managers to take preventive maintenance actions, then ensuring system efficiency and reliability.
Daikin on Site (DoS) allows engineers across the world to monitor, manage and control HVAC systems in real time, directly from the cloud. And this has allowed in many cases service managers to remotely access HVAC equipment during quarantine and take preventive actions without even visiting the site.
Daikin on Site makes active remote monitoring possible, allowing visualization, monitoring and data collection on all units installed on the site or across multiple sites, exponentially increasing technical support capacity.
DoS is a remote monitoring tool by Daikin, that can provide 24/7 real time data, all year round, tracking chiller and air handling units’ plants and their correct functionality. All this to allow plant owners to take preventive actions and avoid extra costs associated with breakdowns and downtime.
Every time there is an alarm, plant managers can easily detect the issue and find the right solution. Through this platform they can evaluate all the parameters in real time and if there is a need for any settings adjustment, they can act remotely. All of this allows both to improve units’ operation and management and allows to increase units’ reliability.
DoS also allows to plan technicians’ work, giving them the possibility to be prepared on issues, possible solutions and spare parts that might be needed, speeding up work. Allowing them to work efficiently and reduce HVAC plants recovery time.
Besides that, DoS allows to create periodical reports of the system performance or energy audits, which help keeping the system as efficient as possible.
For all these reasons Daikin on Site has become fundamental because it is able to increase the level of efficiency and reliability of a HVAC plant, even (almost completely) from remote.
Would you be interested in visiting the Daikin factories where all the mentioned technologies are designed and manufactured? Then, get in touch here.