‘Carbon-neutral venues pan out to take time’


Meir Kojman at Coliseum Europe 2024 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Meir Kojman believes in fostering meaningful climate progress and driving transformative climate action and wants a world free of carbon and swears by net zero venues.

Talking at length about carbon neutrality in venues, he says that right now it is one of the big priorities “right from the Governments all the way down to the venues” and asserts that bold climate action is the need of the hour.

Meir Kojman is a Senior Associate with ME Engineers, US, and is a Member of ME Engineers’ Building Performance team where he serves as an advocate for energy-efficient and sustainable design. Kojman blends his passion for sustainability in the built environment with a strong fundamental knowledge of thermodynamics, building Physics and functional sustainable strategies.

Meir Kojman, Senior Associate, ME Engineers, US, tells ‘Coliseum’ in an exclusive exchange that credible offsets are a key part of achieving carbon neutrality in venues. He also asserts that going in for carbon-neutral venues is not a wallet-friendly exercise but if the venue owners/operators look at it from the perspective of sustainability they will be able to see savings in carbon, savings in operational costs and it will hold them in good stead in the long run apart from saving the planet from the cataclysmic effects of global warming. This whole concept is indeed fraught with challenges and will take time to pan out.

ME Engineers

Golden (US)-based ME Engineers is a global leader in the design of innovative mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology (MEPT) systems that bring to life the world’s most innovative sports and entertainment venues.

Carbon Neutrality in Venues

Meir Kojman maintained that there are a couple of carbon-neutral venues and standing tall is the 18,300-capacity Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle (US) and the recently-opened 23,500-capacity Co-op Live Arena in Manchester (UK). Basically, carbon-neutral venues rely solely on electricity.

He added, “The formula for venues to achieve carbon neutrality is to be all-electric, using renewable energy and using credible offsets (reducing or removing carbon from the atmosphere).”

However, Kojman averred that the “above formula does not always pan out and there are challenges associated with carbon-neutrality in venues”.

No Magic Bullet

Kojman commented that “there are few challenges to getting to carbon-neutral. The planning authorities do encourage electrification of venues. The electrification of venues is not a one-size-fits-all solution and there are challenges to it like the climate conditions where the venue sits, the cost and the carbon intensities.”

He informed that electrification of venues relies heavily on heat pump technology and in places like the North East United States and Northern Europe where there is too much of cold spells “the venues have to protect their assets from freezing and the limited scope to generate energy on site as the solar panels are covered under three feet of snow. Moreover, the fields require a lot of heating during the harsh Winters leading to cost spiral”.

Totally electrifying a venue entails a lot of costs and one has to increase the electrical infrastructure and the number of points of connections and it also involves a lot of operational costs.

He pointed out that the biggest challenge was the “actual carbon intensity of the grid supplied electricity itself. And in some cases while using electricity you could be emitting more carbon than using gas. One is actually emitting more carbon using an all-electric system and that does not change until about 2035. So, this shows how the impact of carbon intensity and the climate affects the carbon emission over its lifecycle. The cost of electricity is more than five times as expensive as gas effectively.”


Meir Kojman summed up by stating, “The carbon-neutral venues are not affordable as yet but if one looks at it from the perspective of sustainability it will augur well in the long run. But a solution still awaits the carbon intensity factor in carbon-neutral venues and that will take time and the whole carbon-neutral venues concept per se will take time to pan out.”

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