Aerial view of La Trobe University Sports Stadium; Aerial view of La Trobe University Sports Stadium;

La Trobe University Sports Stadium, Melbourne

A net positive energy sports stadium in Australia

The La Trobe University Sports Stadium, Melbourne, is an Australian-first. Generating more energy on site than it uses – making it net positive – it’s the first sports building in Australia to be awarded a 6 Star Green Star Design and As Built rating for sustainable building practice by the Green Building Council of Australia.

We designed the stadium with a vast high-spec photovoltaic array on the roof that amounts to over 519 kW and generates around 724,000 kWh per year. This is more than enough to meet the stadium’s electrical demand, so surplus renewable energy is fed back into the rest of the campus. The first major piece of La Trobe’s bold ‘University City of the Future’ plan, the stadium and surrounding park will help it achieve its Net Zero strategy for a net positive operation.

It provides much-needed community sporting facilities to Melbourne’s northern suburbs. It offers a unique environment where community members participate in sport and physical activity alongside elite athlete programs, where university students and the sport industry collaborate, and where world class sport research can thrive. 

We are involved with the next stage of the wider sports park masterplan, which will see Australia’s national women’s soccer team, The Matildas, and the Rugby Victoria sporting body look to make the sports park their home of the future.

Project Summary

1,101 solar photovoltaic panels

724,000kWhper year generated

15%reduction in embodied carbon

Material innovation

We conducted a whole of building Life Cycle Assessment using eToolLCD software, comparing the building to a ‘Business as Usual (BAU)’ reference case. Our structurally efficient design achieved a reduction of 15% in embodied carbon (the greenhouse gas emissions generated upfront to construct the building) compared to Business as Usual. 

The sports stadium is unique in that it generates more energy on-site than it uses, making it net positive in terms of energy. This is aligned with Arup’s Better Buildings global strategy for regenerative buildings that have a positive impact on the environment and contributes to La Trobe’s Net-Zero by 2029 targets. ”

Richard Stokes Richard Stokes Associate | Sustainable Buildings – Victoria Leader
External view of La Trobe University Sports Stadium at dusk External view of La Trobe University Sports Stadium at dusk
The striking, long-span roof of La Trobe University Sports Stadium

Our structural design of the long span roof drew from architectural elements, such as the striking cantilevered canopy over the main entrance and the trussed columns in the southern hall, to find an efficient form. By using these features as key structural elements, we reduced the overall amount of structural steel – a highly carbon intensive material. Reduced by 21.1 tonnes, it resulted in a 5% decrease across the whole building.

The stadium exceeded the Green Building Council of Australia’s criteria. It achieved innovation points for sustainable sourcing, use and disposal of materials, material reduction and efficient material use, with 16% of the building area fit out with locally procured sustainable products. 

The outstanding outcomes of this project were a result of the teamwork and culture of the entire design and delivery team. Arup turned up every day looking for solutions and working positively towards the University’s vision. ” Tony Inglis Project Director, La Trobe University

Connecting communities

The local community as well as the university will benefit from these state-of-the-art facilities.

The stadium houses six multi-purpose highball courts, a teaching and research building with world-class sport science and analytics research laboratories; a café; and office space for commercial tenants. The wider Sports Park is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors per week. 

It was a collaborative effort to identify the potential in the building and collectively raise and deliver on the sustainability aspirations of the project. I enjoyed sharing the journey with the university and design team and think we can all be very proud of the end result. ”

Alastair Cossart Alastair Cossart Project Manager