Australia's legendary sporting venue, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is building on its environmental and sustainability credentials by targeting energy savings equivalent to powering 835 houses annually.

The $8 million upgrade, in partnership with engineers Siemens, will see the ground’s light towers replaced with low-energy lighting technologies. The plan also includes a new building management system, revamped heating and ventilation systems and the installation of new chilled water systems and modernised room control systems.

Expected savings from the reduced energy consumption over the next five to 10 years will offset the cost.

Utility costs will be cut by 20 per cent; water use will be cut by five per cent; and CO2 equivalent carbon emissions will be cut 19 per cent

This CO2 saved each year by the upgrades would nearly fill the MCG 11 times.

Energy efficiency upgrades will solidify the venue’s standing as one of the most environmentally sustainable stadia in the world, and will save enough electricity to power the light towers for nearly six years.

MCC CEO Stephen Gough said the club took the issue of sustainability very seriously.

“This commitment follows other recent MCC environmental initiatives, including the Yarra Park restoration project and water recycling facility, which has seen the MCG save more than 240 million litres of water since it was implemented two years ago,” he said.

“The savings that this project delivers means it will pay for itself. It truly represents the ultimate in sustainable efficiency. It was terrific to work with Siemens’ engineers to ensure the MCG remains a world-class and environmentally responsible stadium.”

Siemens ambassador and sustainability advocate Cadel Evans said the work the MCC and Siemens have undertaken enhances the MCG’s reputation not only as a sporting showcase but also as a beacon for energy and environmental efficiency.

“As a long-time advocate of the environment, it’s really heartening to see the MCG – Australia’s spiritual home of sport – take such a significant step. As an athlete I welcome the chance to play a role in creating awareness around environmental and sustainability issues,” the 2011 Tour de France winner said.

Roland Busch, member of the Siemens AG Managing Board and responsible for Asia/Australia, took time to see first-hand the upgrades at Australia’s favourite sporting stadium as part of his visit to Australia.

“I have been fortunate enough to visit some of the great sporting stadia around the world,” he said. “It’s clear to me now that the MCG truly ranks as one of the greatest arenas on the planet.

“The MCG is part of the heart and soul of Melbourne and Siemens is proud to be involved in the environmental upgrade that has ensured the sustainable future of such a wonderful sporting arena.”