Manufacturers' focus: Sports, entertainment venues
Sports arenas and entertainment facilities require unique product solutions. Hear from three manufacturers who provide solutions in these facilities.
Kirk Adams, Cummins Power Generation
Peter Ebersold, Notifier
Jeff Wiedemann, Uponor
CSE: Please describe a sports or entertainment venue you’ve worked on—share details about the project, including building location, size, etc.
Cummins Power Generation: Our company has provided emergency power systems for a number of sports facilities. Our most recent project was Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. This 39,000-seat ballpark was the second U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified sports complex in the United States, and it’s been called the most beautiful baseball field in the country. We supplied the emergency power system, which consists of two diesel generators and six transfer switches, to provide backup power for the security systems, elevators, egress lighting, and the public address system.
CSE: How have the characteristics of sports and entertainment venues changed in recent years, and what should engineers expect to see in the near future?
Cummins Power Generation: When stadiums were used primarily for sporting events, the requirements were fairly basic. But today’s stadiums are multi-purpose venues for concerts and other special events. And on game day, a variety of restaurants and other amenities bring people in before the game, and they stay after. Target Field has full-service restaurants, banquet rooms, and meeting facilities, and is used for everything from wedding receptions to catered events for thousands of people.
CSE: How does a sports or entertainment venue differ from any other large building?
Cummins Power Generation: Unlike other buildings, the emergency and supplemental power requirements of a multi-purpose sports facility vary depending on the activity. For sports events, emergency power is primarily used for life safety—exit lighting, fire alarm systems, smoke evacuation, and communications. But a major concert or special event may require supplemental power for special lighting, audio systems, and stage mechanics. Rental generators, which are available from Cummins distributors all over the country, provide the flexibility to bring in additional power only when required.
CSE: What trends are you seeing in such facilities?
Uponor: We’re continuing to see increased interest in the use of hydronic systems in these facilities for a number of reasons—primarily safety, maintenance, and energy efficiency. Turf conditioning systems, for example, are being used in more stadiums as facility directors are look for ways to keep the fields in optimum playing condition during the winter months. Snow melting systems are being incorporated into designs as an easier way to keep outdoor spectator stands, public walkways, and driveways clear of snow without the use of chemicals. This helps free up a lot of manpower. Radiant heating and cooling continues to be a popular energy-efficient solution for maintaining comfort in public spaces, office areas, showers, and locker rooms. By relying more heavily on hydronic solutions, facility directors can more easily manage their resources and see reduced fluctuations due to unpredictable weather.
CSE: What's the most important advice you could offer an engineer considering your products?
Cummins Power Generation: The most cost-effective method for supplying supplemental power for a multi-use venue is a combination of stationary and mobile generators. By anticipating the need for additional power for concerts and special events, and designing the infrastructure to accommodate rental generators, the consultant can provide a scalable, flexible solution to meet current and future power requirements.
Uponor: It is important to specify the right product for each specific application. There are a lot of resources available for the engineers. While these systems are by no means new, properly applying the products, with the right operating temperatures, pressures, flow rates, and controls, is critical to ensure that the system as a whole operates to the engineer and owner’s expectations.
CSE: What factors do engineers on such projects sometimes overlook?
Uponor: When it comes to turf conditioning, snow melt, and radiant heating and cooling systems, it is important to understand what potential downward losses might occur, given the slab profile and ground conditions. The engineer needs to evaluate whether insulation is required below these systems. Otherwise, the heat source/distribution system may be undersized to take care of the required load. Another important factor to consider is to how to best control high thermal mass systems, given the intermittent occupancy of sporting and entertainment facilities.