Co-op Live Manchester To Become UK’s First All-Electric Arena

A rendering of Co-op Live's planned canalside terrace.
– A rendering of Co-op Live’s planned canalside terrace.
2,791 square meters of greening around the building are part of the design.
From the moment Co-op Live was announced, developer OVG (Pollstar’ s parent company) made it clear that sustainability would be at the heart of every design decision. It was today revealed that Co-op Live will not only be the UK’s largest-capacity indoor entertainment venue, but also the country’s first running entirely on electricity.
The building has been designed without any gas supply serving the site. It will use electricity for everything, whether it’s air-source heat pumps for heating, domestic hot water, cooling, catering, or the LED lighting used throughout.
Gas boilers, commonly used in traditional arenas, are nowhere to be found inside Co-op Live. 8,883 square meters of rooftop solar panels will be used to power day-to-day activity, “with green electricity from the grid topping up capacity for events,” according to the announcement.
The only fossil fuel used in the building relates to backup generators in case there’s a power shortage. Life safety generators are a regulatory requirement.
Co-op Live, a new arena for Manchester, England.
– Co-op Live, a new arena for Manchester, England.

According to the developers, the current design achieves more than 50% reduction in energy usage compared to similar arenas, in large part due to the switch away from using gas boilers. 

To be more specific, as a representative for Co-op Live explained to Pollstar, the current design achieves 53.7% reduction in energy usage compared to a baseline arena of the same geometry using conventional systems and elements based on the current national standards.
This represents four times the energy reduction of the building’s previous design using gas boilers for hot water. The avoidance of on-site fuel burning will significantly improve air quality as well. 
The team has worked out that the design will enable a 23% reduction in carbon emissions. They see Co-op Live on track towards achieving net-zero carbon by  2038, which is the timeline Manchester City Council set for the city to become a zero-carbon city. 
Rendering of the bowl.
Courtesy of OVG.
– Rendering of the bowl.
23,500 seats make Co-op Live the UK’s biggest indoor entertainment venue.

Once complete, Co-op Live will recycle 100% of the rainfall on the arena through the installed rainwater harvesting system. This will equate to 5.4 million litres of water annually, covering 24% of the arena’s total water usage. Rainwater will be used to flush toilets and water the green spaces around the arena. 

The green spaces created around Co-op Live will equate to ten tennis courts worth of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, creating lush habitat for wildlife, according to the company rep.
Co-op Live boasts 32 restaurants, bars, and marketplaces. To achieve two of the most ambitious aspects of its sustainability plan – zero waste to landfill, as well as zero food waste – Co-op Live will work with local food donation programs. There will also be a plastic-free plan in place to minimize unnecessary packaging and eliminate single-use plastics, as well as a comprehensive recycling program and free-water refills. 
Co-op Live is being constructed on the site of a former Manchester coalmine, which was active until 1968. The completed building will represent the transformation and reimagination of post-industrial urban landscapes in England’s north. According to its owners, it symbolizes the transition from the UK’s industrial heritage, powered by polluting fossil fuels, to a brighter future powered by clean energy.
Mark Donnelly, COO, OVG International, said, “Climate change is the single largest problem facing the planet today and we take our responsibility in creating a greener world seriously. In Co-op Live, we are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events. 
“I’m proud that it’s going to be the UK’s first all-electric arena and we’re also implementing a range of other features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and extensive green spaces to make sure it’s the UK’s most sustainable.”

Co-op Live Sustainability.mp4 from Co-op Live on Vimeo.

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