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Kicking Off For Efficiency At Stadium Mk, Milton Keynes

Stadium:MK and Arena:MK

Stadium MK football ground

Stadium:MK, home to the Milton Keynes Dons, was officially opened on 29th November 2007 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by HRH Prince Phillip. At a cost of around £50M, the 22,000 all-seater stadium was designed by the architects responsible for the Emirates and Wembley stadia. A striking feature was the roof, set up high with a large gap beyond the rear seating ranks, allowing natural light to reach the pitch. In 2011/2012, a £56M extension saw the capacity extended from 22,000 to 32,000, alongside works to add an indoor arena, known as Arena:MK, whilst expansion of the west stand’s hotel and conference centre means that the prestigious Hilton Double Tree now hosts 176 rooms surrounding the stadium.

Auditing For Efficiency At Stadium:MK

With the price of energy spiraling upwards and many stadia saddled with inefficient heating, lighting and building management systems, developing a strategy for effective energy use is a vital consideration. Back in 2010, Mitton developed a system of portable, temporary metering solutions to assist sporting clients to create an ‘energy map’ for their buildings and facilities.

The service has opened the door to significant savings for stadia around the UK, allowing Mitton to drill down through the consumption profile and pinpoint the highest users and usage areas, assessing the scope for consumption reduction.

Mitton’s first task for Stadium:MK wasto undertake a comprehensive energy management audit, identifying ‘quick win’ internal management practices to achieve the biggest and best returns. Following this work, Mitton was also commissioned to repair and upgrade piping to the under pitch heating (UPH) system.

An intelligent, Integrated Approach To Energy Management

MK Dons Footbal Stadium from the pitch

This project involved designing a new, more efficient boiler package to enhance energy performance at the stadium. Working with York-based consultant engineers Watson Wise Associates, Mitton developed an intelligent, integrated approach to energy management, designing an innovative three in one building control and heating system.

This multi-use boiler system – believed to be the only one in use in the UK – is a modular gas fired condenser boiler plant which provides energy for the under pitch heating, supplies hot water for the hotel and also feeds the air conditioning system for Arena:MK alongside the stadium.

“The solution was developed to provide optimum use of and effective management of energy at Stadium:MK and Arena:MK, with added benefits for the Hilton DoubleTree hotel,” stated Ian Barraclough for Mitton. “These advanced boiler and control technologies are integrated into the stadium facilities, providing heat for a 4000 head arena and events space, hot water for the hotel and conference centre as well as energy for the under pitch heating system.”

Boiler plant feeding UPH systems are often used only on isolated occasions during the year, when weather conditions dictate. The Mitton system is in use 365 days a year, representing reduced capital cost, increased energy efficiency and delivering a seamless integration between all three services.

Controls installed in the Arena also feature a calculation to work out the most economical way to provide heat, either by using heat pumps and electricity or via hot water from the UPH system, automatically selecting the most cost effective alternative. Using inverter drives to minimise energy consumption and implementing free cooling algorithms allows control of temperature using cooler air drawn from outside when appropriate, saving energy where possible. Lighting in both the Stadium and Arena is also controlled through the building management system for optimum efficiency.

Monitoring and control technologies are also used by the ground staff at the stadium, providing invaluable information for ground maintenance and ongoing management data through the season.

Intelligent Forward Thinking

All plant was supplied and engineered by Mitton Environmental. Incorporation of modules from the Synapsys range of SIP interfaces has also enabled the inclusion of an online link to Met Office, giving accurate advance notice of weather and temperature for match days and assisting decisions on whether to activate the UPH system. Stadium:MK is believed to be the first in the country using weather data gathered automatically from Met Office forecasts to assist in match day planning.

Mitton has also built in a refrigerant leak detection system for the hotel air conditioning plant. The latest F-Gas regulations require automatic leak detection facilities, and the system links back to a central panel which sets off an alarm in hotel reception area and on the BMS system as well as emailing out and alert to identified members of staff in
the event of an incident.

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