Cluster Sports & Technology hosted the Catalan cluster INDESCAT along with representatives from 10 companies on a study visit on sustainable sport infrastructure, organized from July 17 to 19. During the visit companies were able to get in contact with the Dutch ecosystem, leaders in the incorporation of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in sports facilities.

During the three-day stay, which took place in the cities of Eindhoven and Hertogenbosch in the Brainport region, participants were able to learn about the latest innovations in the field of energy management in sports facilities in the Netherlands as well as some of the most efficient and sustainable sports infrastructures in the country.

The first day of the mission was marked by a visit to the new swimming pool at the Tongelreep National Swimming Center facilities, where INDESCAT members witnessed the energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energies that are being implemented. The new swimming pool, which is still under construction, will have 3,500 solar panels that generate energy to run the pumps. The innovative part of energy efficiency is the generation of energy through a water-to-water pump. Using a process known as Riothermia, they use water from the public water mains, which is always at the same temperature, to obtain heat and to boil the water in the pools.

On the following day, the expedition also visited another water venue, in this case, the swimming complex Kwekkelstijn in the town of Hertogenbosch. There, Corniel Groenen, the city’s head of sports, presented the new facilities to the members of the mission, explaining the conversion of the existing pool into a sustainable building, which re-heats the wastewater to generate energy.

During this second half of the day, the participants also had the opportunity to visit the Maaspoort Den Bosch multi-sports center and FlikFlak, which has renovated its facilities to make them more sustainable. 1,400 solar panels that produce 30% of all the energy, a water heating system with 4 four tanks to store energy, and an investment of 400,000 euros in LED lights have been the main energy efficiency actions in this facility. At the end of the second day, Richard Migchielsen presented a digital map for sustainable sport infrastructure in the Netherlands. 

Another of the most outstanding and innovative projects that the participants were able to see during their stay was the Brabantia soccer club’s Sportpark Strijp. Currently, this amateur team from the city of Eindhoven is taking part in a pilot project to generate energy for the surrounding homes through their artificial grass fields. From the placement of 60,000 water pipes under the gay spa field and using the absorption of the heat from the heat absorption, the heat is generated into the ground, generating energy and making the environment in and around the field cooler. Cristan Segers, from the Eindhoven City Council, was in charge of presenting the pilot, followed by a guided tour of the park and the playground collector.

The mission ended its tour at the PSV Eindhoven stadium, the Philips Stadion, where on the last day of its stay the expedition was able to witness in situ the LED lighting system of this stadium, which has become the first in the country to have this type of lighting. The LED system allows to illuminate more intensely specific parts of the field during a soccer match or a concert, and, in turn, allows for improve the players’ vision on the field, making it possible for the assistants and viewers to see even small gestures on the players’ faces.

We are happy to say that this study visit was just the next step in the long-lasting collaboration between Cluster Sports & Technology and INDESCAT. This exchange of experience inspired both sides to think about creating and joining initiatives and projects to improve sustainability in sports involving local stakeholders in order to bring benefit not only to the region of North Brabant but also to other facilities in both countries.