Energy crisis Citizens complain about floodlights on Bonn's sports fields
Bonn · The lights stayed on at Bonn's football pitches despite the energy crisis. Too often and too long, citizens complain. One club would like to compensate for its energy consumption, but the city is against it.
Bonn's ambitious goals for climate protection and the high energy prices both encourage people to use energy sparingly. Even after the energy-saving ordinance expires on 15 April, the municipality therefore does not want to light up public buildings in the evening again. This was announced by the press office in advance at the request of the GA. Whether other energy-saving measures, such as reduced water temperatures in the swimming pools, will be maintained is still being examined. The lowering of the heating in public buildings to 19 degrees is no longer necessary after the end of the heating period.
In another area, unlike other large cities, the city has never really stepped on the brakes. The floodlights on the city's 50 or so sports fields remained on without restriction throughout the entire energy crisis. And at least in some cases, they were probably on more than was actually needed, at least according to a GA reader from Endenich.
The family, which does not want to be named for fear of repression, lives in the neighbourhood of the Endenich sports park, which is used by the FV Bonn-Endenich 1908. For years, she said, the floodlights at the facility had been burning before 4.30 p.m. and the onset of dusk. "The lights are often on until after 10 p.m., even though people are no longer playing or training," reports the resident. When calling the sports and baths office, different employees declared themselves not responsible. One of them reported that similar conditions could be found at all sports grounds in Bonn. A letter to Mayor Katja Dörner has remained unanswered for six weeks.
Complaint about Bonn SC
Already in autumn, there had been displeasure elsewhere about the flood of light on the football fields. In a citizens' petition, a resident of Bonn had demanded that the Bonner SC should no longer play its home games in the Middle Rhine Football League in the Sportpark Nord in the evening, but on Sunday afternoons like other clubs. The club, however, remained adamant, as there were significantly more visitors on Friday or Saturday evenings. The Bonn district council rejected the citizens' application in December.
The city cannot say how much energy is consumed for the floodlighting of the sports facilities. The Sportpark Nord, for example, does not have its own electricity meter. For sports field 2 in the sports park, the lighting of which is to be converted to LED, the administration calculates in a council submission with an energy consumption of 22 kilowatt hours an annual consumption of 22,600 kilowatt hours. This would cause 12.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
There is no doubt that the consumption is enormous. The DIN standard for sports facilities prescribes three lighting classes in the amateur sector. The specialist portal Sportplatzwelt calculates that a standard pitch measuring 105 by 68 metres for training purposes with a light intensity of 75 lux consumes eight kilowatt hours of electricity (Class III). For a pitch suitable for regional league use, such as Sportplatz 1 in Sportpark Nord, Class I with 500 lux is prescribed. There, the consumption is 48 kilowatt hours. It is true that LED lighting can halve consumption. However, due to the still significantly higher acquisition costs compared to conventional metal halide lamps or mercury vapour lamps, this technology is not yet being used across the board.
Bernd Seibert is Managing Director of the Stadtsportbund Bonn (SSB). He says: "We encourage all clubs to save energy." In addition, he says, all facilities are equipped with an automatic switch-off device. At 10 pm, the lights go out, he says. "However, we ask that it is switched off manually when the last team leaves the pitch." However, he said, he could not guarantee that all clubs would consistently adhere to this, especially as there were often several clubs training on one pitch at the same time.
"No training starts before 5 p.m."
FV Bonn-Endenich 1908 left a GA enquiry unanswered until Maundy Thursday. Sportfreunde Ippendorf 1923, on the other hand, showed great interest. "No training starts before 5pm," reports managing director Markus Lischka, who has also coached youth teams since 2021. After 9.30 pm, even the most football-mad would not train. In the hours in between, he says, 22 teams are on the pitch in 44 sessions per week in Ippendorf alone - always several teams at the same time. Idling or lighting at other times, he says, is out of the question. The switch box for the lighting can only be opened with transponders, which are only given to the coaches. He hardly considers it possible to manipulate the system.
Nevertheless, the people of Ippendorf, who have been using a temporary LED lighting system since 2021 after one of the floodlight masts fell down due to rust, are concerned about the high energy consumption. "The infrastructure is badly outdated," explains Lischka after an eco-check suggested by the SSB. In the changing rooms of the Engelsbachhalle used by the club, for example, the heating cannot be regulated. "That's why we have the windows open there all year round." Even the urinals are flushed with hot water.
A tax advisor had advised the association to invest in a photovoltaic system on the roof of the hall in order to produce the electricity for the hall and the court lighting itself. At an on-site meeting, both the SSB and the head of the sports and baths department rejected the idea. It would be too big for the club. "But we want to fulfil our social responsibility for climate protection and the energy transition," Lischka emphasises. In the next few days, he wants to submit a corresponding investment application to the city administration.
Original text: Martin Wein
Translation: Mareike Graepel