Qatar 2022: Facing the FIFA World Cup climatic and legacy challenges

Sustainable Cities and Society

The 2022 World Cup creates great opportunities for the country of Qatar, but also poses significant challenges. In this study the main challenge of maintaining thermal comfort conditions within the football arenas is presented, with respect to the heat stress index and the aero-thermal comfort thresholds established for open stadiums. Potential cooling strategies for delivering tolerant comfort levels are introduced, followed by their functional strengths and limitations for the hot-humid climate of Qatar. An estimation of the cooling load for semi-outdoor stadiums in Qatar is also presented. The  dynamic thermal modelling results indicated that a load of 115 MW h per game should be at least consumed in order to provide both indoor and outdoor thermal comfort conditions. Finally, the use of solar energy technologies for the generation of electricity and cooling are evaluated, based on their viability beyond the 2022 World Cup, towards the nation’s targets for sustainability and lasting legacy.

Authors: Polytimi Sofotasiou, Benjamin Richard Hughes, John Kaiser Calautit

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Stadium modelling

The studied stadium structure was modelled in Autodesk Revit design interface and it represents a simplified version of a benchmark arena design that is widely used in literature studies; the Amsterdam Stadium, with a seating capacity of 50,000. The stadium’s external dimensions of length × width × height are equal to 226 m × 190 m × 72 m respectively. It consists of two spectator terraces on the longitudinal direction of stadium’s perimeter  and the oculus roof configuration with an area of 4400 m2 represents the only opening that was created for the current thermal analysis.

Figure 1 (a) Top view, (b) external side view and (c) cross-sectional view of the stadium [1].

Estimation of energy consumption for cooling

The thermal analysis generated results on the average monthly cooling load requirements per thermal zone. The results indicate that during July a cooling load of 3764 MW h or 125 MW h/day should be provided at the expense of users’ thermal comfort. This value deviates over 8.4% from the cooling load requirements during June (3448 MW h or 115 MW h/day) and 1.0% during August (3726 or 124 MW h/day). Remarkable are also the values of the expended load for provision of pleasant ambient temperatures in external occupied areas. The cumulative cooling load is 31% more than the one required in indoor spaces. An analytic description of the monthly zonal cooling load requirements is presented below.  

Figure 2 Monthly zonal cooling load results [1].


[1] Polytimi Sofotasiou, Benjamin Richard Hughes, John Kaiser Calautit, Qatar 2022: Facing the FIFA World Cup climatic and legacy challenges, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 14, February 2015, Pages 16-30, ISSN 2210-6707,

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