Motorpoint Arena Cardiff addresses its energy efficiency through an EE MUSIC audit conducted by Julie’s Bicycle

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, opened in 1993, is an indoor exhibition centre and events arena. As part of the Live Nation Entertainment portfolio of over 100 venues worldwide, Cardiff Arena has a capacity of 5,000 people seated or 7,500 standing, hosting almost 100 events every year. The diversity of its programme means that energy efficiency and energy management challenges vary by date. Over 60% of all electricity consumed on site is consumed on performance days.

Most of the energy demand is controlled by the Building Management System (BMS), which controls heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting. The BMS is managed by an operations manager and has pre-sets for non-performance days, seated performances, and standing performances. Electricity consumption is monitored through primary half-hourly meters from the main intake of the building. Gas consumption is monitored on a monthly basis through invoices.

In October, 2014, Julie’s Bicycle carried out an EE MUSIC funded energy audit. Major impacts on energy usage include: temperature control and adjustments for offices and for large audiences during performances, use of computers and other electronic office equipment, lighting both for the offices and particularly for performances, water and gas consumption (hot water) in offices and during performances for audience members using toilet facilities. The audit showed that the venue was already 8% more energy efficient than Julie's Bicycle Energy Benchmark for Venues and Cultural Buildings in 2014, and gas consumption was 60% below the industry benchmark – however, it also highlighted opportunities for further improvement.

Audit recommendations

Priorities for the future should focus on increasing understanding of energy consumption across the building, and heating demand across the day, to examine the case for further investments to realise additional increases in energy efficiency. Specific recommendations include:

  • Mapping the electricity sub-meters already in the building to understand exactly which areas and equipment they serve. Once specific areas of electricity use have been identified, careful monitoring will help understand the electricity consumption associated with, for example, performances, offices and front of house areas, in more detail. This will allow more targeted action planning.
  • Upgrading working lights within performance space – if the existing lights were replaced with LED lighting, there could be an annual saving of approximately £5,800.
  • Repairing and replacing older equipment such as chillers and boilers.
  • Investing in large-scale lighting replacement of halogens with LEDs, especially in central building areas and installing motion sensors to activate lights.
  • Investigating areas of high energy and water use, and in response, installing smart water meters to increase leak detection ability.
  • Considering changing electricity supplier to one who sources a higher proportion of electricity from renewable sources
  • Using a targeted staff engagement campaign to further encourage behavioural change and increase motivation.
  • Communicating with incoming artists to involve them in energy reduction efforts.

Energy Audit

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff worked with Julie’s Bicycle through EE MUSIC to obtain an energy audit to better understand energy efficiency and management and to identify areas of improvement.

Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)

The cooling system automatically takes advantage of ‘free-cooling’ (when outside air temperatures are lower than internal temperatures) by blending fresh outside air into the system, reducing demand on the chillers where possible. To reduce the heating demand for the main hall in winter, the space is heated gradually and kept consistently above 13°C.

The building management system is closely adjusted each day to suit the requirements of each performance and parameters have been refined year on year to minimise wasted energy.

In April 2014, an inverter was installed for the air-handling unit, which is predicted to increase efficiency by up to 70%, as the air-handling unit can modulate power based on demand.


Lighting through large parts of the building is controlled by Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRs) or through the BMS, which has an automatic ‘kill switch’ for many parts of the building, to avoid unnecessary lighting outside of normal operating hours.

Communication / Staff Engagement

 Employees receive weekly communications about utilities in their meetings every Friday. They are also encouraged and trained to reduce their energy consumption. There is an established energy saving campaign in place to encourage office staff to reduce their energy consumption by switching off computers and lights when not in use.

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