How an IoT solution keeps beers cold and pies hot at the AFL Grand Final - and cuts the MCG's power bills

Fans gather at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Source. Schneider Electric/Supplied.

As 100,000 people descend on the MCG this weekend, spare a little thought for those behind the scenes.

These are the people responsible for serving up more than 40,000 pies and sausage rolls sold on the day, the ones who make sure that 60,000 litres of beer keep flowing and at least one guy is responsible for bringing the cheese board.

More importantly, there’s a company responsible for keeping the lights on, literally.

The MCG has been working with Schneider Electric since 2000. Schneider has provided the power monitoring system, including lighting automation for the ground’s light towers – the tallest of any sporting venue.

Now, in partnership with energy solutions integrator AZZO Automation, Schneider’s EcoStruxure platform is powering an IoT portal, called a Utility Monitoring Visualisation System (UMVS), which gives real-time, actionable insights into the entire network of power consumption at the stadium.

This IoT system helps the MCG monitor usage, manage and effectively reduce the amount of energy consumed at events. It will ensure that a full capacity stadium is able to keep running through periods of peak demand and that the lights won’t go out in the middle of the game.

Source: Supplied.

Lighting the way for sustainable operations

The UMVS portal is able to give live updates of the power quality, water and gas usage and provides real-time cost modelling throughout the event.

There is a phenomenal amount of output to cover the scrolling signage, electronic sight screens, light towers, heating and air conditioning, not to mention keeping the pies hot and the beers cold.

The platform in operation. Source: Supplied.

At a recent Schneider Innovation Summit, AZZO AUTOMATION and the MCG shared benchmarking data on ‘per-patron energy consumption’ at the Boxing Day test cricket match (the largest event on the summer calendar). Using UMVS, the MCG was able to reduce the per patron consumption to 1.75kW over the five-day period which represents more than 56% reduction in energy consumption from the previous year – the equivalent of approximately 1.5 million balloons of CO2.

Relevant stakeholders within the MCG can access it, act on it and monitor the consumption. That way, the stadium can operate in a more efficient way in real-time. With over 100 metering points, the UMVS system provides the cost of running the facility and allows the customer to track real-time cost savings when they are making the changes.

“Our end goal is to drive down energy costs, reduce our carbon footprint and become a more environmentally-friendly stadium,” said Marshall Holding, Operations and Contracts Manager, MCG.

In addition to making significant reduction to the energy usage in a complex stadium like the MCG, Schneider looks at the essential operating systems in buildings of all kinds that need uninterrupted power supply.

Many industrial companies spend a huge part of their operating expenditure on energy – typically more than 15% per year. Sports stadiums are often benchmarked against industrial companies due to the high volume of energy they consume.

The ability to leverage insights derived from facility assets, IoT and artificial intelligence is helping businesses improve energy efficiency and meet sustainability goals.

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. They develop connected technologies and solutions to manage energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.
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