The Castelao is the first “green” stadium among the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ venues. Out of the 12 stadiums that applied for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the Fortaleza venue is the first to be awarded the certificate for its exemplary building methods with regard to sustainable sites, rational water use, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, use of environmentally friendly materials and implementation of innovations.

David Douek is an architect and manager of OTEC, the consultancy company that worked alongside the project team to obtain the LEED environmental certificate. He believes the most important aspect of the idea behind the “green” stadiums is the opportunity to educate a large swathe of the population about sustainability and its practical applications.

By showing the tournament is concerned with sustainability we are demonstrating that sustainability is not an unattainable concept.

David Douek, architect and manager OTEC

“Stadiums are different to other large buildings like factories or business buildings, 99 per cent of which are usually out of bounds to the general public because they are private enterprises,” said Douek. “In contrast, the stadiums provide us with an amazing opportunity to educate a huge number of people by showcasing the benefits of looking at their home or their building from a more sustainable point of view, especially in terms of cutting down on the natural resources used.” 

With this in mind, an event like the FIFA World Cup takes on even more importance as a tournament that can transmit valuable messages that go beyond fair play and all the excitement of the great matches involved. “The World Cup is always a sporting event of unparalleled proportions. By showing the tournament is concerned with sustainability we are demonstrating that sustainability is not an unattainable concept. It is something that should be foremost in our thoughts every day,” added Douek. 

To comply with the criteria needed to obtain the LEED certification, the list of measures adopted included, among other aspects: cutting the consumption of drinking water by 67.61 per cent by using metals and technologies that reduce water consumption; building a public transport-oriented complex, which is served by four bus routes that run a minimum of 200 trips a day; installation of an air-conditioning system that does not use cooling gases based on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are destroying the ozone layer.

Furthermore, a no-smoking policy is in place for all indoor areas and outdoor zones within eight metres of the air vents of the buildings, and suitably sized waste centres have also been integrated into the complex to store recyclable waste such as paper/cardboard, plastic, glass and metal, which is collected on a regular basis.