Since opening in 1975, in addition to being the home of the New Orleans Saints, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the Bayou Classic, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted seven NFL Super Bowls, five NCAA Final Fours, and legendary entertainment acts. While many other stadiums built in the 1970s have been demolished or are no longer available for professional sporting events, the Superdome continues to not only be a viable facility, but a destination for world class events such as WrestleMania XXX and four College Football Championships. To keep the Superdome’s tradition going, the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) and Siemens are working together to implement technological advancements and energy efficiency upgrades.
The recently completed energy savings performance contract (ESPC), which was structured at no initial cost to the LSED, provides improvements to the stadium’s lighting, temperature systems, and energy management platform. This project will not only result in cost savings, but will also provide a better experience for fans, players, and performers.
“This is another important step we are taking to preserve the iconic Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Superdome is a 41-year-old building, and some of the equipment is original to when the stadium was first built,” said Kyle France, Chairman of the LSED. “The savings realized through this project will have a huge impact. We spend about $5 million in utilities annually, so even a small percentage in savings turns into real dollars for our operations.”
The infrastructure and energy efficiency upgrades are projected to save the LSED an estimated $6.5 million in energy and operational cost savings and capital cost avoidance over 10 years. These savings can then be reinvested into other aspects of the building, which will allow the LSED to stay competitive in bringing high-quality events to its facility. In addition to financial savings, upgrades to the Superdome are projected to save more than 6.2 million kWh of energy each year – which is enough to power over 460 homes, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
“This project represents a fantastic opportunity to deliver solutions that will make one of the country’s most iconic sports and entertainment venues more sustainable and energy efficient,” said Dave Hopping, President of Siemens’ North American-based Building Technologies Division. “The upgrades we’re implementing will help the Superdome provide a greener, safer, and more comfortable experience for fans while helping to address the facility’s evolving needs.”
Lighting upgrades are a key component of the project. Siemens has updated lighting in the seating bowl – replacing approximately 1,500 metal halide lights with 500 LED lights. Not only is the new lighting more energy efficient and easier to operate, it will also improve guest safety and provide a more dynamic lighting experience on site and for television broadcasts. LED lighting is also being added to corridors, parking garages, and exterior fixtures of the Superdome for enhanced visibility and safety for patrons.
Additionally, Siemens replaced the stadium’s aging chillers and implemented its Demand Flow energy efficiency solution, which optimizes temperature set points for chilled water and condenser water. Combined with a new building automation system, this technology will help reduce electricity usage by approximately 21 percent for a very energy-intensive component of the Superdome. The new chiller plant optimization solution will also help reduce humidity and improve building and occupant comfort.
Lastly, the Superdome’s facility management team will benefit from the Siemens Navigator platform, a software tool that facilitates easier building management through a customizable suite of services that enables monitoring of building system performance, energy demand, and energy supply more effectively.
While implementing the various energy efficiency measures, the stadium has not experienced interruption of service or delay of events, according to France. “Siemens has given us great support in continuing to ensure the Superdome is viable and competitive in attracting major events and serves the State of Louisiana positively,” he said.
Siemens’ Financial Services (SFS) Division is also supporting the project, providing the LSED with a $7 million municipal lease to finance improvements for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome under the performance contracting agreement.