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How Smart Data is Helping Sunderland A.F.C Reduce Energy Usage 

How Smart Data is Helping Sunderland A.F.C Reduce Energy Usage 
11 December 2023

Lee Rorison explains how smart data is helping Sunderland AFC become more energy efficient and on track to meet its sustainability goals.

Lee is CEO at data and test solutions provider Sërios Group, designing and delivering bespoke solutions to large enterprises.


High Energy Bills at Sports Stadia


Across the facilities management world, reducing energy costs has been priority number one over the last couple of years. Research from analysts at London Economics shows that on average, businesses experienced a staggering 124 per cent rise in gas prices and a 63 per cent rise in electricity costs between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022.

Although prices have stabilised somewhat in 2023, they are still double where they were in early 2021, and with ongoing global economic instability, there is no guarantee of lower bills in 2024. What’s more, the government has replaced cost capping for businesses, instead offering discounts, but only until March 2024.

It’s therefore obvious that high-energy usage businesses are looking for savvier ways to reduce costs. This is especially the case for sports clubs; think of all the stadiums, academies, and office buildings your local team runs, then imagine the eye-watering high energy bills.

Championship football club Sunderland A.F.C. is one such stadium business looking to reduce energy costs. The Club has set ambitious sustainability targets, aiming to be energy self-sufficient from renewable sources by 2028 and achieve carbon net zero emissions by 2040, committing to a greener, more sustainable future. To work towards this in the shorter term, the Club is aiming to cut energy costs by as much as a quarter in 2024.

However, as Sunderland A.F.C. Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison highlighted when launching the Club’s sustainability strategy earlier this year, these changes are not just about cost savings to the business, but also changing the environmental impact businesses can have. “We want to set long-term and bold objectives that enable our Club to have a positive impact on our collective ambitions to cut carbon emissions and reduce climate change,” Steve said.

Football clubs have an important role to play in their communities, which reaches beyond sport, and we hope to take them all with us on this journey with us as we help to tackle climate change.”

The road to more sustainable facilities management can be a long one, but the first step is understanding how exactly energy is being used across your business, and where changes can be made. Having detailed, real-time data is crucial for this.



Picture: a photograph of Lee Rorison. Image Credit: Seriös​ Group  


Energy Consumption at the Stadium of Light


Data is playing a pivotal role in giving Sunderland’s facilities management team a full view of energy consumption across the Stadium of Light, Academy of Light, Black Cat House offices, and merchandise warehouse.

Sunderland has been working with us at data solutions provider Seriös Group on a bespoke player and opposition analysis data platform since April 2022, and we recently on-boarded the Club to Seriös One, which collects, analyses and overlays energy consumption with space utilisation data from 65 sensors across the Stadium of Light and Academy of Light.

Seriös One is a purpose-built data analysis platform, built with facilities management in mind, to consolidate and aggregate space activity, temperature, light, and energy consumption metrics. By using data and analytics, facilities management teams can better understand and predict how space can best be used, therefore seizing opportunities to ensure space is more effectively used and reduce energy expenditure.

By gathering and analysing this data, we are assisting the club with immediate energy reduction objectives over the next 12 months, as they gear up to reduce energy spend in the region of 20 per cent - 25 per cent and broker their next energy deal.

Tackling high energy costs can be a headache for any facilities manager, especially as more and more businesses work towards ambitious sustainability plans. But by looking at the data and utilising the right tools to analyse this information you can make real, impactful changes, in order to make significant savings, setting your business up for a more sustainable, and efficient future.

Picture: a photograph from the exterior of the Stadium of Light, showing part of a bronze statue where a child is catching a football in their hand. Image Credit: Seriös​ Group  

Article written by Lee Rorison | Published 11 December 2023


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