Allianz Arena first to use LED lights to grow turf

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The Allianz Arena, home to Bundesliga soccer side Bayern Munich, is believed to be the first sporting stadium to use LED grow lights to treat its turf.

In a bid to find a more sustainable turf grow light system, the German club turned to LED technology, which is a revolutionary move considering LED lights have always lacked the additional heat radiation required to encourage growth during winter.

Turf lighting expert SGL has developed a new solution that incorporates infrared technology in the LED unit. Following extensive research and testing, the firm has teamed up with Allianz Arena in the world’s first application.

Allianz Arena LED lights

Allianz Arena LED lights

The Allianz Arena has purchased four LED systems with integrated and fully automatic infrared and irrigation to cover the entire width of the pitch.

“In order to get and keep a perfect pitch with very good natural grass quality, the use of technical support has already been essential to us for many years. SGL and their light technology have been a very important and helpful partner since 2009. Now we climb a new step and look forward to the new LED lighting units coming from SGL. After extensive tests we are confident that we will get good results with these additional lights on our pitch,” said Jürgen Muth, managing director at Allianz Arena.

The benefits of adopting an LED-based system extend beyond sustainability as the technology allows groundskeepers to adjust the color of light to encourage photosynthesis.

“LED is a fast-developing technology and a lot of research is still being done with regard to its use for plant growth. There are many choices to be made in order to get the same quality at lower costs as the HPS armatures. Apart from looking at the energy efficiency side of the story, it’s crucial to look at the plant physiological side, practical side and investment costs too. LED has many advantages, such as flexibility in light spectrum and the energy efficiency, but also some challenges such as the high investment costs, the lack of infrared radiation and the weight,” explained Nico van Vuuren, founder of SGL.

“Grass uses red and blue light for photosynthesis. We’ve extensively tested different red to blue ratios at our own test center in the Netherlands and at the Allianz Arena. Based on the test results we’ve created the most efficient light recipe for grass growth, recovery and plant resistance.”

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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