Sandy Park, home of the Exeter Chiefs, is the first sports club in the world to warm its stadium with heat generated by the physical efforts of the players themselves. The ground-breaking new initiative using patented ‘heat pad’ technology was designed by Kensa Heat Pumps, a south-west-based kit sponsor.

Since forming their partnership in 2021, the Chiefs have been consulting with leading ground source heat pump experts Kensa about how to make Sandy Park more environmentally friendly, to support their commitments, and bolster Exeter’s net-zero carbon pledge.

The harder the players train, the more body heat they give off. Instead of being wasted out to the atmosphere, Kensa’s innovative ‘heat pads’ absorb and store this excess heat. It is then transferred into the stadium’s heating distribution system to keep fans warm whilst they watch a match.

The heat-collecting wearable pads require the players to perform intense exercise to deliver a consistent supply of heat to the stadium. To heat the Chiefs Suite, circa 1200m2, the players need to produce 48kW of energy. Therefore, every player on the 15-player team would need to produce around 3kW of energy. This has resulted in fierce competition amongst the players to see who can train the hardest and produce the best results.

Alfie Moxon, Director of Sports Science for the Chiefs, said:

During training sessions and matches, the lads are making plenty of tackles and big collisions, generating heat energy to keep our fans nice and warm. Fans dedicate their time on a cold day to watch the game, and we want to keep them comfortable, so this gives the players an extra incentive to work hard and to win!

Don Armand – Lock / Back-Row, said:

Kensa have come up with this amazing technology where what we exert as heat energy is transferred to heat the stadium, it’s phenomenal. What we’re doing here with Kensa is the future. Elon Musk with Starlink has got nothing on where this is going to take the world’s renewable energy!

Stephanie Gregory, Marketing Director at Kensa, said:

It is great to see Sandy Park embracing this brand-new technology and tackling climate change head on. Recycling waste heat has massive potential as an alternative energy source, and as leaders in their field, Exeter Chiefs are rightly leading the way. We look forward to developing our partnership with the club and using our expertise in renewable heating solutions to aid them in achieving their low carbon ambitions.

Lisa Duncan, Sales and Marketing Director for Exeter Chiefs commented:

Our partnership with Kensa Heat Pumps forms a core part of our continuing move towards achieving a more sustainable and renewable future for Sandy Park and Exeter Rugby Club.

As an organisation, we want to take the lead in improving our impact on the wider environment, and it is through working alongside companies like Kensa who are producing innovative technologies in these areas, that we can achieve these goals.

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