Case Studies - Croke Park Stadium

Energytracked delivers impressive results at Croke Park

The launch of the redeveloped Croke Park complex heralded a new era in sports facilities, spectator comfort and hospitality services in Ireland. When completed in 2004, the 82,300-capacity stadium became one of the biggest in Europe. Today, Croke Park is a leader in sustainability best practice, following a series of developments in 2010 which saw it become the first stadium in the world, and the first enterprise in Ireland, to receive BS8901 certification for Sustainable Event Management. Shortly after receiving this certification, it won the 2010 Stadium Business Summit Sustainability Award.

A cornerstone of these achievements is the stadium's exemplary energy management programme, the origins of which date back to May 2008 when Croke Park Chief Executive Peter McKenna and ESB Chief Executive Padraig McManus jointly devised the Cúl Green initiative to make the stadium carbon neutral. One of their key objectives was to minimise resources consumption; the Energytracked system was the mechanism chosen to deliver this objective.

Since the roll-out of Energytracked - energy management system in late 2008, Croke Park has reduced its annual electricity consumption by 1.25 million kWh, while simultaneously reaping the financial benefits associated with lower energy consumption.

Peter McKenna and Croke Park Operations Manager Alan Gallagher are anxious to share their learnings with the wider GAA organisation and sports community generally. Recent initiatives have seen the stadium and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland jointly host the Greener Games Conference, which people involved in running sports enterprises such as golf clubs as well as rugby, football and GAA clubs were invited to attend free of charge.

"We want to spread the word about the benefits of initiatives such as the ESBIE's Energytracked system which helped the Croke Park team make substantial savings on electricity by delivering real-time monitoring and highlighting high-usage areas and wastage", observes Alan Gallagher.

Croke Park's massive reduction in electricity consumption was, he says, achieved by installing a network of approximately 30 electricity sub-metres across the 16-acre stadium complex and then focusing the operation team's attention on high-usage areas. "Once you succeed in managing your baseload, and get it to operate at peak efficiency, you will begin to achieve real savings. As part of Croke Park's energy management improvement process, we focused on our midnight to 6.00am baseload - so that we could identify specific areas of potential wastage. Once we addressed that issue, we automatically reduced the stadium's overall power consumption."

Almost three years after the ESBIE Energytracked system was installed, Gallagher says the original reduction in electricity consumption has been maintained, and day-to-day monitoring and management of energy consumption continues to be remarkably straightforward. Real-time information regarding energy data and utility consumption is displayed as a web portal and is accessed by the stadium team for analysis.

By way of additional scrutiny, Gallagher and his team regularly oversee the carrying out of weekend and night-time checks on conference rooms, offices and catering areas - to confirm that computer monitors, coffee machines, photocopiers, heaters and other equipment have been turned off when not in use. "The savings achieved by combining power monitoring and energy-reduction measures has exceeded expectations and has resulted in a significant positive impact on our bottom line", says Gallagher.

Electricity consumption is of course just one aspect of the energy management story. Due to the immediate success of the electricity monitoring programme, Croke Park rolled out Phase Two of the Energytracked system in 2009 - a move designed to incorporate gas and water consumption into the stadium's overall energy reduction plan. Again, this has delivered significant savings.

Who, if anyone, would Alan Gallagher recommend Energytracked to, and for what reasons?

"In order to reduce your utility bill you need accurate and timely information as to when and where energy is being consumed. Energytracked delivers this information clearly in a way that allows you to focus on high- usage areas. It can be scaled to match the size of your organisation."

"By embedding Energytracked into our energy reduction procedures, we have made some very quick wins in relation to utility savings. With real-time monitoring, we are continuing to drive down our utility costs. As a consequence, lower energy consumption means a reduced carbon footprint - a 'win win' for everyone obviously."