The headquarters of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Local Organising Committee (LOC) hosted a workshop on applying green construction standards to preparations for Russia 2018. The event, organised by the LOC with the support of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, was attended by Russian and foreign experts, as well as representatives of design organisations, real estate developers and regional environmental agencies.
Delegates at the seminar exchanged about globally recognised systems of environmental certification, international best practice and Russia's experience and prospects in the field of environmentally friendly construction.
One of the key topics of discussion was the new Russian green building standard to be used to certify World Cup stadiums according to FIFA requirements. To develop this new standard, a group of experts was established in early 2014 under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology.
The group is led by Professor Yuri Tabunshchikov, who won a Nobel Prize as part of an intergovernmental group of specialists studying climate change. Prof. Tabunshchikov is also a Russia’ s leading expert in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, heat supply and building thermal physics.
"Drawing up a Russian green standard is a truly major task, and an important one at that," Prof. Tabunshchikov said. "Establishing a national environmental standard specially adapted for football stadiums will be a huge step forward for Russia. The new standard will be an important part of the World Cup's legacy, and it can serve as a platform for the country to develop a whole new generation of top-quality specialists."
Sustainable building is becoming a leading trend and is rapidly gathering momentum.
With the designing, construction and rebuilding of Russia 2018 stadiums now in full flow, minimising environmental impact - both during construction and once the arenas are operational - is assuming paramount importance.
The LOC and the FIFA World Cup stadium authorities are committed to ensuring that stadiums are certified as compliant with FIFA's requirement for sustainable stadium construction. Furthermore, drawing up a national standard to certify stadiums is facilitating the construction of sporting infrastructure in Russia in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
"This workshop brought together leading experts, key people in this field, and the process of dialogue has begun. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this work," stressed Guy Eames, chief executive of the Russian Green Building Council (RuGBC). "The effects of using green technologies will be felt for many decades to come. Not only will all Russia 2018 host cities have their stadiums certified as required by FIFA, they are also drawing up plans for other major green construction projects.
"It's really important for us to see mentalities in Russia changing," Eames continued. "I'm talking about architects and developers. Five years ago, there weren't many people in Russia who knew what these standards were meant to achieve, but now there are hundreds of specialists working in the sustainable building industry. Sustainable building is becoming a leading trend and is rapidly gathering momentum, despite the economic difficulties. Of course, all facilities built on the basis of green standards will enjoy undoubted advantages."
Drawing up a national green standard for stadiums is an important element of the Russia 2018 Sustainability Strategy, which is to be officially launched at the Preliminary Draw for the tournament, scheduled to take place this July in Saint Petersburg.
“We are very pleased with the efforts undertaken by the Russian green standard working group, the LOC and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation in the past months and believe that this new improved standard for green and sustainable buildings will become the first legacy of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™”, said Federico Addiechi, Head of Sustainability at FIFA.
According to Alexey Sorokin, CEO of the Russia 2018 LOC, new approaches to the environmental certification of Russia 2018 stadiums provide an opportunity to set a genuinely high standard for sports construction in the host country.
“What we’re now seeing is how preparations for the first World Cup in Russia are becoming a catalyst for important changes in all sorts of areas of life," Sorokin said. "Building World Cup stadiums in accordance with Russia’s green standard will allow us to create resource-effective, safe and comfortable football arenas, as well as taking environmental responsibility to a whole new level throughout the country."