The planners kept athletes in mind when they created the wind system. Since wind can impact performance in many events, including track and field sports such as sprinting, computer modeling helped designers ensure a maximum wind speed on the competition field of 2 meters per second, to conform with international sports standards.

Without computers, modeling for many aspects of the stadium would still have been possible but it would have been far more time-consuming and far less accurate, Su said. Accuracy is important for a host of reasons, mainly safety. Typhoons lash Taiwan with heavy wind and rain each year, and thousands of earthquakes shake the island. Most of the temblors are so small they're only picked up by scientific instruments, but some have toppled buildings and killed people.


In all, the roof cost around NT$800 million (US$24.3 million) to build, Su said, with NT$500 million of the tab for solar panels alone. But over time, the roof will help pay for itself.

During events, the roof supplies 70 percent of the stadium's electricity needs, the other 30 percent coming from the state power company. When not in use, most of the power generated by the solar roof goes to surrounding neighborhoods in the city.

Officials estimate the stadium will generate an average 1.1 million kilowatt-hours per year, and at the current cost of electricity in Taiwan, NT$3 per kilowatt-hour, the structure will save NT$3.3 million per year for the city.

Here's where IT again plays a key role in the new stadium. Sensor chips on the roof keep track of all electricity intake and distribution, sending the information to servers in the control station, which is similar to a small power station inside the facility.

Another kind of sensor chip keeps track of the rooftop solar farm by troubleshooting for broken or damaged panels. There are 20 to 30 sensor chips per row of solar panels, and around 200 rows on the roof.


The building's planners had one more task for the stadium, as if power generation, shade and wind tunneling weren't enough.

The roof also collects rainwater for use inside the stadium. It rains frequently in Kaohsiung, if only for a portion of the day.

A system of pipes conveys the water to holding tanks underground where it's sterilized and then reused in rest rooms, for the grass and half-moon fountain, and elsewhere.

The final touch on the stadium was an eye toward using recyclable materials. Much of the stadium can be reused or recycled, Su said, including the steel throughout the frame, plastic seats and more.

The World Games, held July 16-26 this year, is an international event for sports not played in the Olympic Games, including Rugby, Sumo wrestling, squash, rock climbing, Dragon boat racing, parachuting, and tug-of-war.