Germany: SC Freiburg's Stadium Setting New Standards

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Germany: SC Freiburg's Stadium Setting New Standards There was a time, not that long ago, when bigger was better in terms of football stadia. In fact, in most cases it wasn’t just that size was the most important thing, it was the only thing that mattered.


Germany’s greenest stadium

Things moved on slightly with the look of the arena suddenly becoming an important factor, along with the desire to build a statement venue, something aided by advances in technology and building techniques and materials. There is now a new movement in stadium design, one that reflects the sympathies and viewpoints of the world and the people paying their way through the turnstiles. Football stadiums are becoming green, and in Germany, SC Freiburg are leading the way.

The Baden-Württemberg club, affectionately known as the Breisgau Brazilians, are at the heart of what could be the most exciting title race for years in the German top tier, making the Bundesliga betting market a lot more competitive than the procession it has become of late. But it is not just on the pitch that Christian Streich’s outfit are making waves. Their new venue, Europa-Park Stadion, is set to be the league’s first, and one of very few dedicated sports arenas in the world that will be carbon neutral.

Europa-Park Stadium© Andreas Schwarzkopf

Opened in October 2021, the 34,700 capacity (approximately 12,400 standing) ground is located in the area of the city of Freiburg just west of the airport, in an area known as Brühl. For those not familiar with the city, or that region of Germany, it is known for two things that make the football club’s green credentials a lot less surprising. The area is not just the sunniest part of the country, it has long held a proud tradition of being the nation’s greenest, as in environmentally aware. The club’s eco stance is therefore merely a reflection of the city it represents.

SC Freiburg are becoming a real force in German football

Solar panels on the arena’s roof are estimated to produce 2.3 million kWh of electricity a year. This, combined with recycled energy from a neighbouring manufacturing plant will provide all the energy required to heat the stadium and the under-soil heating, a requirement for the Bundesliga of course. Designed and built by HPP Architekten, the stadium, known as Mooswaldstadion even has green capabilities built into it should there be a power outage in the city or the venue itself, in the form of clean energy storage batteries.

In a similar move made by Forest Green Rovers in League 1, the third tier of English Football, in their New Lawn, the stadium boasts electric car charging stations, dedicated spots (almost 4,000) for bicycles as well as plug-in areas for e-bikes and scooters. This is not a green flash in the pan. The new stadium may take things to a whole new level, especially with its expectation of being 100% carbon neutral, but the club’s previous stadium was a trailblazer in sustainable energy too.

Europa-Park Stadium© Thorbjörn Jörger

Dreisamstadion (also known as Badenova-Stadion, Mage Solar Stadion, the Stadion an der Schwarzwaldstraße and the Schwarzwald-Stadion at different times of its life), was built in 1953 and was home to the club until 2021 when the new ground was officially opened. As long ago as 1993, then head coach Volker Finke, along with solar energy pioneer Rolf Disch, installed Photovoltaic panels on the stadium roof, creating a solar stadium, while a Stirling engine generated the energy to power its undersoil heating.

The move to the new stadium was forced upon the club due to the fact that the oldpitch no longer met UEFA guidelines, being too short. Though the team continued to play there, and the ground even hosted international matches for both women and men, the writing was on the wall. After a lengthy planning and deliberation stage, the old site was deemed not suitable and the club built the new, shiny and above all else, green stadium we can enjoy today.