A sport full of CO2 and without sustainable venues

  • Many pavilions have become obsolete with huge losses due to energy consumption.

  • Large competitions cause high emissions of carbon dioxide, mainly due to the displacement of athletes and fans.

Only the big ones hospitals consume more energy and therefore cause more CO2 emissions than sports halls, many of which are buildings old and outdated. In the fight against climate change, according to the opinion of the experts consulted, sport must act quickly as the collateral damage of major competitions serves to increasingly carbonize the atmosphere, while the main multinationals must become aware of manufacturing sustainable garments and eliminating toxic products in sports waxes and resins.

According to a study carried out by the platform fitbuildings.org, directed by the Italian architect Mauro MancaIn Catalonia alone there are 1,300 buildings, including sports pavilions (not counting stadiums), swimming pools and gyms that cause a significant alteration in carbon dioxide emissions and that could be reduced by more than half if they are rehabilitated in a sustainable way.

“The biggest problem -explains Mauro Manca– is the energy expenditure. A sports hall cannot continue to consume a thousand kilowatt hours per square meter, which translates into energy bills of 100,000 euros per year, when a typical home does not exceed 32 kilowatts. If we manage to turn these pavilions into sustainable buildings, we could be talking about a consumption of 100 to 150 kilowatt hours per square meter “.

The problem is not only Catalonia, but all of Spain and much of Europe with enclosures at odds with sustainability, many of them uncomfortable for the spectators, built years ago or rehabilitated with patches, which are a climatic threat. “A sustainable pavilion is a building without architectural barriers, with changing rooms that promote gender equality, which means that women have the same dimensions as men, with improved air quality, and more now due to the pandemic, with the elimination of synthetic materials that, when worn, give off toxic particles and with good air conditioning “.

Enrique Zaragoza placeholder image He has been fighting for a more ecological sport for years. He has a degree in physical education, lives in Berlin and has traveled to Germany giving talks in educational centers to raise awareness about sustainability in sport. He has also advised athletes committed to nature like Kilian Jornet. It explains that large events cause a disaster due to C02 emissions and that up to 80 percent of them are caused “by the displacement of fans and athletes from their countries of origin to the competition, a circumstance that increases considerably when the tournament is played in several venues, as has happened this summer with the European Football Championship “.

“Sport must become a more sustainable practice and for this we need the collaboration of multinationals, which make more recyclable garments, and the organizers of major competitions to deliver public transport vouchers to fans, or commit to reestablishing in nature the part corresponding to the C02 emissions that they have generated, planting trees, for example, in some areas of the planet ”, explains Zaragoza.

Waxes, resins and lubricants

Another serious problem is caused by the manufacture of waxes, resins and lubricants high toxic content: waxes for alpine ski boards that contained fluoride, for example. These waxes, at least in Europe, have already been banned by the FIS (International Ski Federation). “A fluoride that remained in the snow and that with the thaw went to the rivers from which the animals drink. Now there are ecological waxes, made from soybeans, that do not pollute and that are not much more expensive than the toxic, “he explains Guillem Capellades, founder of NZero, a Catalan company that manufactures and exports this type of ecological wax to countries such as Germany and Sweden.

“Sustainability contributes to economic, environmental, ethical and social performance. Therefore, the environment of a ski resort must be protected”, he explains. Victor Torres, environmental manager of Grandvalira, in Andorra.


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