Some games are great spectacles and some, even more than others. Football has been in the news lately with the European Cup 2016 having just concluded at various venues across France.
Football is popular across the world but greater than the game itself are the stadia which host these shows – with prestigious tournaments like the European Cup viewed by hundreds of millions of people all over the world.
A stadium is then not just a venue but adds to the entire “brand-value” package of the city where it is located. It is little wonder then that hundreds of millions are spent on stadia as they are a visible part of the game itself. The Allianz Riviera Stadium, also known as Grand Stade de Nice, was one of the venues of the European Cup 2016. The stadium, designed by Wilmotte & Associés, cost an estimated €245 million. Resembling a flying bird, Allianz Riviera is a magnificent piece of architecture that fits snugly with its surroundings in the middle of the Eco-Vallee, an ambitious long-term development plan for the Plaine du Var centered on sustainability.
One important aspect of stadia are the spectacular roofs, the construction of which creates memorable, emotional connections between the building and its visitors. Roofs that seem to float above the action or that allow looking far into the distance are the crowning achievement of every sports facility.
Plastics, and PVC in particular, have become one of the most widely used materials in building stadia. Flexible PVC is particularly important and can be found in many different applications. Its cost efficiency, durability and light weight make it ideal for roofs and flooring in permanent and temporary sports venues but also in a large variety of sporting goods. PVC membranes add to the modern look of the stadium while protecting the spectators from harsh sunlight and rain. And when it’s time for replacement, PVC can be re-used and recycled into new applications.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 was hosted in 12 different Brazilian cities where seven stadiums were newly built and five were renovated, most of them using virgin and recycled PVC. For example, the petal-shaped roof of the Arena das Dunas in Natal was completely coated with PVC on one side. The Arena Pantanal, which replaced the Stadium Governador José Fragelli in Cuiabá, used a fire-resistant PVC membrane on the inside as well as a waterproof PVC membrane on the outside of its roof. PVC membranes were chosen as part of an airy architecture making use of natural light and cross ventilation to save energy.
Olympic Games always require extensive construction work for the host city. A little known aspect is the extent of recycled PVC in stadium construction now. Recognising the great potential of PVC, the Commission for Sustainable London 2012 even established a dedicated policy for its use - a major contrast to the Sydney 2000 Games, where policies were set to avoid the use of PVC.
Material used in constructing various temporary sports and games facilities for the London Olympics were eventually recycled and found their way even into primary schools as flooring systems!
The recycling of vinyl roofs starts with the removal of the old membrane from the facility. The membrane is then packaged and consolidated and shipped to a facility where it is processed into a form that can be reintroduced into the new product manufacturing stream. Vinyl is an excellent candidate for recycling because the old roofing material is easily introduced into the raw material base for the manufacturing of new roofing membranes and accessories.
Clearly, the preference for PVC and the sheer amounts currently in use for stadium construction affirms the successful path to sustainable development the PVC industry has taken. And is a testament to the inherent qualities and robustness of the material.