Derby County’s fans will be toasty this winter
It’s just as well the World Cup matches have taken place in summer, given the winter temperatures in Russia. It takes some dedication to follow your home team when the temperature is 20° below. However, this isn’t something that Derby County fans are going to have to worry about at their Pride Park football ground. Not because the winter is necessarily going to be mild – but because the club has just installed the first heated concourse in a UK sports ground.
This is partly in response to the increasing number of families attending football, and the need to make the concourse warmer and more welcoming in winter, when the majority of the matches are played.
How to heat an outdoor stadium
So how do you heat a stadium concourse that is by its nature, open to the elements? Derby County chose a system from Reznor that uses electromagnetic waves that pass through the air, but don’t heat it. Instead, the system heats surfaces and the resulting radiant heat is a much more efficient heating method in an area that is open to the air. It also means that the warm air is much less stuffy than with traditional heating methods. The system is estimated to cost 25% less than a traditional heating system, and it eliminates the cold spots often associated with other heating methods.
In the Derby stadium, the flue is horizontally installed through the outside walls. Nine LR burners are located at a height of 6 metres, and there are two radiant tube heaters. Different stands have different, and adjustable, temperature zones.
So how does it work?
The radiant tube heaters, which are overhead mounted, provide infrared heat. A reflector directs this downwards. The infrared passes through the air without transferring heat to the air. When it reaches people, equipment and floors, it falls on them, establishing an all round radiant warmth at the lower level. Whereas heat usually rises, in this case it falls, so that the air in the roof is not heated, but the people on the ground are.
What’s more, there is some built-in energy efficiency for people, since radiant heat stops them losing so much of their body heat.
Air conditioning at Wimbledon?
So, are we going to see air conditioning at Wimbledon? It could happen. The empty seats in the stadium during the summer heatwave showed that even fans with expensive tickets couldn’t face being boiled in the sun for hours, no matter how exciting the match promised to be. Of course, the technology would have to be different, but we are beginning to see people demanding a controlled environment whether they are in a building, or outdoors.
Now that it’s possible for heat to move downwards instead of upwards, perhaps we can look forward to rain reversing direction and flowing back up into the clouds when we’ve had enough of it?