Joseph Crea

Today, in the midst of significant economic growth and social change, Brazil is preparing to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, arguably the world’s premier sporting event. From June 12 to July 13, the games will put Brazil front and center in the global spotlight.

Last month, the organizers celebrated an important milestone on the road to the upcoming games. As the first of the 12 venues to be completed, Castelao Arena in Fortaleza became the first World Cup stadium to earn LEED certification. This green stadium will showcase its sustainable features to over 60,000 fans at each event, including some of the most highly anticipated matches of the World Cup.

Architect David Douek, director of OTEC—the consultancy firm that managed the project—stated that the stadium was intended, from the outset, to enable more sustainable and efficient operation. Indeed, earning LEED certification has helped Castelao Arena validate its achievement of the sustainability goals embraced by all of the World Cup 2014 venues.

"Certifying a stadium in a country crazy about football will showcase the value of sustainability to millions of Brazilians. LEED has proved to be an internationally recognized tool that communicates, universally, great sustainable achievements.”

As Brazil moves steadily into its future, and continues to think how design and efficiency are a part of that future, these considerations gain importance.

Here’s are some of Castelão Arena’s key features:

  • Water Use: Stadium design accommodates a 67.6% reduction in potable water consumption, and a 71.9% reduction in the volume of potable water directed to the local sewer system.
  • Energy Consumption: Through smart-building optimization, the stadium will reduce annual energy consumption by 12.7%. An ongoing information-sharing tool works to maintain this level of efficiency in years ahead.
  • Construction Waste Reduction: During the stadium’s construction, 97% of all waste was diverted from landfills and reused or recycled.
  • Event Waste Reduction: Strategically positioned central waste disposal units are set to store and recycle event waste, including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality:
    • A monitoring system ensures the continuous thermal comfort of guests.
    • Low VOC materials were used throughout, and 100% of sealants, paints and coatings used internally comply with acceptable limits.
    • Lighting design enables 97% of all individual workstations and 100% of all shared spaces to be individually controlled.

A key overriding benefit, as Mr. Douek rightly points out, is that the stadium will serve as an essential reference for other public buildings with regard to the management of environmental resources in their construction and operation.

This is a true milestone and a prominent example of sustainable building for Brazil’s future and the world. LEED stadiums such as Castelão Arena will stand proudly next year and for many years to come.