Oxford United has unveiled plans to erect a unique soccer stadium that depends on electric and solar energy. The League One side announced on Wednesday that they will build the first arena in England powered almost solely by renewable resources. As a result, there will not be any fossil fuels, such as gas, involved in the project. The move will help allow the club to create a sustainable new home.

Along with switching their focus to electricity, Oxford officials will utilize solar power as well. The club will use over 3,200 square feet of solar panels on the roof of the stadium. These panels, according to the club, would be able to create enough energy to boil 2.3 million gallons of water each year. The combined usage of electricity and solar panels would drastically reduce carbon emissions by the club.

Oxford officials hope to become carbon neutral in 15 years

Oxford’s announcement comes just days after the club signed on with the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework. In joining the organization, the club pledges to work with other partners in tackling the climate crisis. The League One side has set a goal of halving their carbon emissions by 2030. They will then attempt to become completely carbon-neutral by 2040.

“The standout element of the stadium is it will be the most sustainable mid-sized sports venue in the country,” stated Jon Clark, Oxford United’s development director. “We want to make the most of the opportunity to create something special – it would be one of the greenest football stadiums to be built.”

“The stadium design has sustainability and visitor experience at its core. We’ve maximized modern technology, design, and progressive thinking to create the benchmark for future design of stadiums with the protection of our planet in firm focus.”

“By avoiding natural gas usage on site and by using highly efficient equipment to serve a high-quality building, the carbon emissions associated with this unique venue will be radically reduced resulting in a very low impact home.”

In addition to refusing to use gas, Oxford’s new stadium will also include specialized drainage systems and rain storage. This latter move allows the club to reuse rainwater for other services in the area.

Oxford United moves across town for electric and solar stadium

The new 16,000-seat stadium will replace Oxford’s current home, Kassam Stadium. The arena only opened in 1997. Four years later, Oxford United moved in. However, club executives have been in discussions with city officials for years regarding a new stadium.

Proposed plans for the new arena would place the arena north of the city’s center, near Kidlington. Kassam Stadium, on the other hand, currently lies on the southeast end of town.

Oxford’s proposal to become more sustainable is similar to another EFL club, Forest Green Rovers. The League Two team previously announced that they would soon become the “greenest” soccer club in the world.

Team officials have opted against selling meat products in concession stands and they partnered with multiple clean energy companies as well. The UN also even declared Rovers as the world’s first carbon-neutral soccer team.

Sustainability has become a hot topic around the globe in recent years, even in the sports world. Several English clubs, including Rovers, recently joined forces to combat environmental impact when traveling as well. Sports teams, due to their size of operations, have a significant impact on the environment. Nevertheless, it is a step in the right direction for these clubs to be cognizant of their influence on the planet.