England scores its first all-timber football stadium
It will be “the greenest football stadium in the world”. In Gloucestershire, England, the world’s first all-timber football stadium has been given the green light, and the term ‘green light’ doesn’t just refer to the planning approval. The home of the Forest Green Rovers is set to be carbon-neutral. The 20-metre high stadium will be built out of sustainably sourced, laminated timber, including the louvred cladding and cantilevered roof. Low carbon construction methods will be utilised, and power will come from a range of sustainable energy sources. Zaha Hadid Architects have incorporated an all-weather pitch and comprehensive carpark landscaping in the overall design.
The continuous, wave-shaped roof will be constructed out of cross-laminated timber and covered in a lightweight, transparent membrane. Meanwhile, double-curved Glulam will be used to create the striking footbridge.
The stadium’s vulnerability to fire is significantly minimised through the use of engineered timber systems which have been proven to perform well when exposed to fire. Considerable research has been carried out in recent years and it is believed that engineered timber’s performance can be sufficiently predicted so that its application can be styled accordingly. Large engineered timber elements will be resistant to ignition and fire retardants can be used to mitigate combustion risk in other areas.
Club owner Dale Vince is the founder of Ecotricity, a green electricity provider. Deeply passionate about the environment, his insistence on carbon neutral practices and other sustainability initiatives is well known, and certainly behind the choice of timber as the predominant construction material for the stadium. The Forest Green Rovers’ pitch is pesticide-free and irrigated only with rainwater. Even the club T-shirts are made from 50% bamboo to reduce plastic usage. The public are encouraged to use public transport or car-sharing to attend games and electric car chargers are available in the club’s facilities. In 2018, the United Nations awarded the Forest Green Rovers carbon-neutral certification and bestowed upon them the UN Environment Programme’s ‘Momentum of Change’ climate action award.