The state of the pitch at Friends Arena caused concern for players and staff on more than one occasion. To facilitate various events at the multi-purpose stadium while maintaining a high-quality playing surface for football, stadium management decided to look for solutions for the challenging grass growth conditions in Solna, Sweden. They found that solution in LED technology. In this case study we elaborate on the challenges the Friends Arena grounds team faces maintaining a quality pitch, why they choose LED technology to address these challenges, and what the results are of the LED440 lighting units.
The narrow and retractable roof of Friends Arena means that, on average, only 50% of natural sunlight reaches the playing field. In winter months, this is only 20%-30%. A third of the playing field receives no natural sunlight at all due to the shadow, leading to an average annual field quality of 69%.
As Friends Arena is a multi-purpose stadium, events are organised throughout the year, ranging from concerts to club football and international matches. Due to this unique situation where concerts take place during football season and the lack of sufficient natural sunlight, the grass doesn’t get sufficient time and natural sunlight to recover between events.
This has resulted in player complaints about the quality of the playing surface. In order to guarantee the safety of the players and facilitate events throughout the year, a sustainable solution had to be found for the mentioned challenges.
Firstly, together we discussed the desired goals Friends Arena wanted to achieve. Based on the outcome, our agronomy department calculated the light and heat requirements to achieve de desired grass quality and estimated the associated energy savings.
An LED performance & efficiency calculation gave further insight into the possible energy savings, running costs compared to an HPS grow lighting solution, the grass quality that can be achieved with LED, and the return on investment.
To achieve the desired grass quality and to keep facilitating the multitude of events and football matches throughout the year, Friends Arena decided to explore LED technology as a possible solution. After comparing solutions from 8 different LED grow lighting providers, Friends Arena decided to invest in 10 SGL LED440 grow lighting units to cover the entire length of the playing surface.
With the 10 LED440 grow lighting units, the grounds manager has the unique opportunity to control light and heat radiation independently, enabling precise alignment with the grass’s needs and creating optimal environmental conditions for high-quality grass growth, thereby shortening the turnaround time.
The advantage of a retractable roof is that heat lingers in the stadium when the roof is closed. In such cases, there is a need for additional light but not warmth. The grounds manager can then use the LED grow lights solely for light radiation without the need to add extra heat. This saves up to 40% in energy, promoting high-quality grass growth in the most energy-efficient manner possible.
As a result, the Friends Arena grounds team managed to maintain a consistent, high-quality playing surface that meets the players’ expectations, despite the busy event schedule. In addition, they managed to save 36% on energy compared to the HPS grow lighting solution.
One of the most important parts is that SGL not only provides the technology, but also provides staff to come and join us. Together with us, they ensure that the products and technology work like we think it should work. The advice part is a key service.
For Friends Arena, enhancing the quality of the pitch inside the stadium and changing the sentiment from negative to positive, was a big reason to embrace grow lighting technology. Their strive for sustainability was crucial in choosing energy efficient LED technology over conventional grow lighting. This enabled the stadium to turn complaints about the quality of the pitch into compliments, while also taking the necessary steps in the transition towards a more sustainable industry.
Whether you’re looking to increase the quality of the playing surface, want to hit sustainability goals, or want to save money; investing in LED technology can be a well-considered investment.
If you want to know more about LED technology and how your venue can benefit from SGL services, don’t hesitate to plan a free consultancy with one of our expert.
We consciously decided to be the first stadium in Germany to fully switch to LED grow lighting technology.
With LED technology, we can start the lighting season early and get a head start.