Initiation and Feasibility


02 min. reading time

Climate change refers to the long-term change of the average temperature and changes in weather patterns. The Earth’s temperature moves up and down naturally, however, in comparison to pre-industrial levels, it has increased more rapidly than it would have been expected to in such a time frame.

This unusual climate change is attributed to a steep increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, absorb the heat radiated by Earth and trap it in the atmosphere, much like in a greenhouse. As a result, the global average temperature has been rising.

This increase in the average temperature is causing a variety of sudden and gradual changes to Earth’s physical environment. It can be said with great certainty that humans are the main cause of the current increase in temperature.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 to advise governments around the world on the topic of climate change. The IPCC’s fourth report, issued in 2014, concluded that:

we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

human influence on the climate system is clear;

the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and

Recent reports have suggested that global warming, a result of climate change, could be limited to 1.5°C this century. The Paris Agreement, signed by the majority of countries, aims to ensure exactly that.

In 2017, the UN reported that global building and construction activity accounts for a combined 39% of all energy-related CO2 emissions. The same report highlighted that while progress is being made globally, there is still a growing urgency to address energy demand and emissions from buildings and the construction industry.


Even if the upwards trend in the global average temperature were to be brought to a halt, the impact on Earth’s physical environment would still continue to happen because those changes have already been set in motion, and the greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into the atmosphere will take hundreds of years to be absorbed.

Therefore, stadium projects must factor in the effects of global warming and this is known as adapting to climate change. Some of the effects to be considered in the design of a stadium are the following:

More areas will be liable to flooding

More violent thunderstorms and typhoons are damaging infrastructure

Wildfires will be more prevalent

Droughts, floods, higher rainfall, longer cold spells and sea-level rises are gradually impacting playing surfaces and other facilities

Less potable water will be available

Heatwaves and heavy rainfall also impact the performance of players and the level of comfort of fans in the stadium

Each country and city will have new policies, ambitions and climate action plans that the stadium will be forced to adhere to

One of the most crucial decisions for any new stadium project is site selection, and its importance as part of an overall sustainable stadium solution is discussed in Sub-Section 1.3.5.

If the effects of climate change on a stadium are not properly assessed during the design stage, it may shorten the lifespan of the stadium, waste scarce resources and lead to premature reconstruction or redevelopment.


It may not be too late to avoid or limit some of the worst effects of climate change if humanity stops emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is why the international Paris Agreement was put in place.

Thus, designing and building stadiums in a sustainable manner will be important to help mitigate climate change. The UN suggests that this will involve reducing the energy intensity of buildings by 30% by 2030 compared to the levels recorded in 2015 to be on track to meet the Paris Agreement.

In addition to reducing the energy intensity of stadiums, other key mitigation measures include:

increasing the amount of planting in, on and around stadiums;

constructing stadiums using materials with low CO2 emissions, known as low embodied carbon materials;

increasing the amount of planting in, on and around stadiums;

using clean energy (energy generated without creating CO2 emissions) to power stadiums;

providing sustainable transportation to and from stadiums.

reducing the amount of potable water used in stadiums;

These key considerations in designing sustainable stadiums, including the role of green building certification as a guiding framework, are discussed in detail in Sub-Section 2.7.1.