MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When the Minnesota Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers this weekend, the temperature outside could be in the mid-20s.

But on the field, and in the stands, it will be a good 50-degrees warmer.

Alan from Lakeville wanted to know: How do they heat U.S. Bank Stadium? Good Question.

U.S. Bank Stadium is huge. You could actually fit the entire Metrodome inside of it.

Patrick Talty is the general manager of the company that operates the stadium.

“The sun is our friend,” Talty said. “The building is actually 20-percent more efficient than the Metrodome ever was because of that new design of the roof.”

The roof on the entire south face is made of a lightweight plastic that lets sunlight in.

“Just like you greenhouse, if you will, and it helps warm up the area and we use that to our advantage,” Talty said. “We still have to use heat … Our furnace is about 1,700 homes if you [can] imagine that.”

One of several enormous furnaces at U.S. Bank Stadium (credit: CBS)

The heating system uses steam, which is much cheaper than natural gas. And since hot air rises, Talty says they capture that heat.

“We store the heat up at the top, and then pull that warm air back down into the air ducts and then push it back out,” he said.

There are 30 air handling units throughout the stadium, located one floor below street level. The air is constantly circulating during the winter.

They like to keep the stadium at 70 degrees, but will set it at 65 to 66 before a concert or Vikings game because 66,000 fans will likely raise the temperature by several degrees.

“Hopefully hotter if the Vikings are playing well,” Talty said.

It costs around $100,000 a month to heat the place in the winter.

“Utilities overall are one of our biggest expenses,” he said.

It is much less when they can use the outside.

“In the fall and the spring, we take advantage of free air conditioning,” Talty said. “So we take the night air and we actually pump it into the building, and we’ll lower that temperature down to 66, you know, 64 degrees, and allow it to rise during the day.”

And as for those hot blasts above the visitor doors. They create an air curtain to keep the cold air out — and let freezing Vikings fans thaw on their way in.

Heather Brown

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