SGL and Johan Cruijff ArenA join forces in pursuit of energy savings

We’ve joined forces with the Johan Cruijff ArenA in the pursuit of creating the best, most sustainable pitch. Together, we address the main challenge in our industry: how can we increase the quality and reliability of professional sports pitches while reducing our environmental impact at the same time?

The SGL LED440 on the pitch of the Johan Cruijff ArenA, home of AFC Ajax.

For a long time already, the pitch has been a fully-fledged professional business model for the multi-purpose Johan Cruijff ArenA. With the playing surface being an essential part of the stadium’s ecosystem, the focus on social responsibility and sustainability also expanded to this ‘field of play’. That’s why, over a year ago, the ArenA decided to completely replace their conventional HPS grow lighting system to a full SGL LED system and was able to save 6% on the total yearly energy consumption of the stadium (which equals roughly the annual power consumption of 150 Dutch households). Because of our shared belief in a data-driven approach and continuous technological development, we recently entered an innovation partnership with the Johan Cruijff ArenA and are now on a joint mission to optimise sustainability within the industry.

Energy savings at the Johan Cruijff ArenA

With the transition to LED technology, the grounds team at the ArenA was up for the challenge to save significantly on energy usage while maintaining the desired high level of pitch quality. That’s why the team at the Johan Cruijff ArenA gathers as much data about their pitch as possible, enabling them to make informed decisions on resource usage. The TurfPod monitors the microclimate, where SGL growth models specifically calculate the amount of light needed for optimal grass growth.

With heat being one of the main energy consumers, the trick is to precisely align the infrared usage with the grass’s needs. Because of the closed stadium design and the retractable roof, the Johan Cruijff ArenA is able to preserve a lot of heat within the stadium. Therefore, they required only little additional heat from the Infrared system on the lighting units in 2023. This resulted in a 20% reduction of energy consumption in comparison to the previous, HPS grow lighting technology.

Looking forward

Together, we’ve already made significant strides towards sustainable pitch management. But as always, we’re looking ahead. The Johan Cruijff ArenA pitch serves as the innovation center to collectively increase growth analysis, product testing and researching the coming years to further optimise pitch performance and resource efficiency. Luckily, the Johan Cruijff ArenA is every bit as hungry for progress as we are and, therefore, we are very proud to be partners in our never-ending quest for the pitch of tomorrow.