The world was amazed in April of 1965 when the world’s first multi-purpose domed stadium, the Astrodome, made its debut in Houston.
Like any prototype, the “bugs” had to be worked out. The roof blocked sunlight that prevented any natural grass turf from growing. The solution was Astroturf. It was functional but nowhere near like natural grass which was upsetting to some. Since then, many domed stadiums are in use and they all face a more perplexing problem: How to control the indoor environment in a huge space under varying conditions. We have all heard of central HVAC systems for homes but for a huge domed stadium, it is best to look at each letter in the acronym separately. High-efficiency gas heaters or infrared heaters are common for large stadiums. If the arena is used for Ice Hockey, the thermal energy drawn from water to form the ice surface can be stored in insulated underground water tanks and used later, even months, to heat the stadium. For AC a large centralized system is used but there are usually several air handling stations to move the cooled as needed instead of cooling the whole area to one temperature. Ventilation is a problem with domed stadiums because of the variety of uses and the number of people attending an event. Many stadiums use a dedicated outdoor-air system or DOAS that is independent of the heating and AC systems. It controls the amount of fresh air let into the building. Ice Hockey facilities will need to add an “R” for the refrigeration system. Leave the HVAC/R to the stadium. The only R you will need in your house is the refrigerator to keep your beer cold as you watch the game on your HDTV.