The Pitch is Green: Part 1

My son and i recently made a pilgrimage to Tokyo to check out the Japanese National Stadium as the first stop on our tour of stadiums that are implementing sustainable practices into the heart of the ecosystems they serve. A soccer stadium becomes the heart of a dynamic cultural ecosystem of businesses, investors, consumers and fans. In many cases a stadium development project can serve to hub the revitalization of an area that has gone in to decline as we are seeing in places like Atlanta, Oakland, Pawtucket and Colorado Springs to name a few.

While some cities are still failing to recognize the mandate for stadium business partnerships for both economic and sustainable practices the Japanese National Stadium was not one of them.

The National Stadium first came on to my radar because of Futbal Unlimited’s plan to incorporate a green asset’s marketplace at the center of the ROGUE DYNAMO FC ECO STAD initiative with in the Pacific Northwest.

The National Stdium was built for the 2020 Olympics during the Coronavirus pandemic and was designed to integrate the architecture styles and traditions of Japanese architecture with the needs of a modern sports stadium. As part of the Japanese government’s forward thinking initiative to make the Olympics carbon neutral, Tokyo 2020 was one of the first to join the UN Sports for Climate Change initiative and set about implementing a eco and energy friendly design with UN Sustainability best practices guidelines in mind.

The Structure incorporates 47,000 plants into its design and acts as an epicenter for a greenway in the heart of Tokyo, population roughly 40M. While it is not the most sustainable stadium on our visit list, it does demonstrate the viability of using sustainable materials like Japanese cedar sustainably sourced from all 47 Prefectures instead of being imported (wood is more environmentally friendly than carbon intensive concrete), drawing inspiration and cultural influence from Meiji Shrine, the utilization of rain water collection, waster management and a photo voltaic roof membrane to capture sunlight for power.

The eaves designs also function to create natural air flow and cooling without air conditioning for the stadiums 68,000 capacity seating.

Because of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 Olympics the National Stadium did not see the debut it was intended for. However, it’s legacy is well established as one of the cornerstone’s of the important role stadium design and construction can have on large scale adoption leveraging the global fan base of the beautiful game on sustainability best practices. Stay tuned for our next stop The Lawn at Forest Green…


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