Oxford United plans all-electric stadium


First E-Stadium planned in Oxford Image: Oxford United

Oxford United FC has unveiled plans to build the first stadium in England powered solely by electricity to create a sustainable new home.

As part of the club’s pledge to deliver a state-of-the-art stadium it has outlined further details behind the proposed low-impact development.

The club would use a low-carbon energy supply to create an ‘all electric’ stadium, with power also generated by solar panels.

Oxford United is currently working towards submission of a full planning application for the proposed new 16,000 seat stadium, which will include 25% safe standing spaces.

As well as hosting the men’s team, which currently plays at the 12,500 seat Kassam Stadium, the new venue in Kidlington would also house the women’s team.

The EFL League One club said its vision is to create a sustainable sports, entertainment and lifestyle landmark in Oxfordshire which is locally loved and internationally recognised.

Jon Clarke, Development Director at Oxford United, said, “The standout element of the stadium is it will be the most sustainable mid-sized sports venue in the country. We want to make the most of the opportunity to create something special – it would be one of the greenest football stadiums to be built.”

The proposed stadium at the Triangle, near Kidlington in Oxford, would not use any high carbon intensity fossil fuels such as gas. Annually, electricity is now a cleaner fuel than natural gas.

Renewable energy sources, including 3,000m² of solar panels on the roof, along with energy efficiency measures would achieve radical carbon emission reductions. The solar panels would generate enough energy to boil around 3 million 3-litre kettles per year.

Modern building fabric design and heat recovery solutions would also be used to maximise thermal efficiency.

The use of another low-carbon energy technology, air source heat pumps, as the development’s primary heat source would provide an estimated 80% reduction in CO2 emissions per year when compared to gas boilers, when aggregated over the year.

The news comes days after the club announced it has signed the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework to help tackle the climate crisis. By joining the Framework, the club has underlined its pledge to playing its part to ensure the sports sector achieves a low-carbon future. The club is committed to halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2040.

The stadium would also include drainage systems, rain storage and recycling solutions to re-use rainwater, while plans to enhance biodiversity on the land at the Triangle would achieve a significant net gain.

Clarke added: “The stadium design has sustainability and visitor experience at its core.

“We’ve maximised modern technology, design and progressive thinking to create the benchmark for future design of stadiums with the protection of our planet in firm focus.

“By avoiding natural gas usage on site and by using highly efficient equipment to serve a high-quality building, the carbon emissions associated with this unique venue will be radically reduced resulting in a very low impact home.”
In addition to onsite renewable energy through solar panels, the stadium design maximises efficiency in all aspects to minimise energy use and associated carbon emissions. It would include:

  • High performance construction with optimised thermal performance to reduce the demand for cooling in summer while retaining heat in the winter.
  • High efficiency air source heat pumps to provide internal comfort, capturing heat from the external ambient air to produce the heat source for general heating, domestic hot water generation and undersoil pitch heating.
  • A fully automated Building Energy Management System will be employed to monitor, control and report energy use, to ensure optimal operation across all seasons and long-term minimisation of energy consumption.

The plans for the stadium include a 180-bed hotel, restaurant, conference centre, health & wellbeing space, gym and a community plaza. The club is currently preparing to submit its full planning application.

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