Greening up football
We’re going to make Forest Green Rovers (FGR) the most sustainable football club in Britain, probably the world.
A green football club is a unique identity. And a very strong one (we’ve seen that already from our early steps). It will enable us to project the name of Forest Green Rovers and our eco-message far and wide.
In 2012 FGR achieved the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) – the gold standard for environmental performance. In the world of football, no club has it. EMAS systems enable measurement, targeting and reporting on all key environmental impacts.
Some eco initiatives in hand at FGR:
- We're collecting water from under the pitch to use for pitch irrigation. Next we'll look at how to collect rainwater from the stadium roof and how to sink a borehole to collect local water. Our pitch will be irrigated by a mixture of rain, drain and spring water – and we hope this will make it independent from the mains water.
- The pitch is going organic. We’re working to organic principles and are keen to develop an approach to the certification of organic sports pitches. This'd be a world first.
- We were working on an LED floodlight – but the technology is still too energy intenstive. So we're looking into options for low energy floodlights. Watch this space.
- We have some sun power of course, in the form of solar PV along the stadium roof, kicking out 45 kW capacity.
- Our ground based solar system greets fans arriving at the ground. It's highly visible and accessible in a way that roof mounted systems aren't – its purpose is to be seen and to be a part of the environmental technology on display.
- When we took red meat off the club menus, we achieved national and international coverage (and plaudits) for the move. Now, we're home to the first meat-free football menu. We did it for strong environmental and health reasons. We're working to the principles of local, seasonal, fresh and organic food wherever possible.
- When the UK’s first electric ‘mow-bot’ arrived at the New Lawn it put Rovers in the same league as Bayern Munich, who also care for pitch and planet using the same revolutionary technology. The ‘mow-bot’ uses GPS technology to automatically mow the pitch without the need for human intervention – saving up to 50 per cent of our groundsman’s working week – it even sends him a text if it runs into trouble.
More than Football
We plan to create an eco venue alongside and within the sporting venue, along the lines of our Green Britain Centre in Norfolk. We’ll host AGMs, conferences, training days, weddings, and so on where the added attraction is the environment centre – the football club is a working demonstration of sustainable living.
This will be a place also for schools to visit and base their lessons on – we know from our work at The Green Britain Centre just how popular such a thing is. And just up the road we have our first windmill, enabling shuttle hop visits to big wind technology.
Creating an eco – education/venue/visitor centre at the New Lawn will highlight the eco message and the name and reputation of FGR to a far wider and more diverse audience. So, the football club and eco centre together will be stronger than the sum of their parts.