|Green Olympics 2012: 12 Eco-Friendly Features|
The 2012 Olympic Games in London aimed to be the most sustainable in history, with eco-friendly features like recyclable buildings, electric cars, amped-up recycling efforts and local food. So, have they met their goals? A promise to power the games using 20% local renewable sources was scrapped, and big sponsors like McDonalds, BP, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical put a damper on environmentally friendly aspirations. But the London Olympics have delivered on many of their promises, including green buildings, recycling, transportation, carbon emissions and wildlife protection.
Green London Velodrome
(images via: LOCOG/london2012, EEPaul)
Designed by Hopkins Architects, the elegant London Velodromeboasts natural cooling, water harvesting and daylighting and was constructed with lightweight materials. The white roof reflects sunlight to keep the interior from getting too hot in the midsummer sun, and the cedar skin of the building is perforated to let fresh air cool the spectator stands. The bowl shape of the roof also collects rainwater, which is stored for later use.
Clean Energy, Low-Emissions Vehicles
(images via: bmw)
240 electric and hybrid cars are among the 4,000 vehicles that BMW has supplied to the 2012 Olympics in London. Driven by media, judges, event organizers, Games officials and staff, photographers and more, these low-emissions, renewable-energy vehicles will help Olympic organizers meet their low-carbon goal for the Games. Among the vehicles BMW is providing is the 3 Series Saloon, pictured above, which gets nearly 87 miles per gallon.
Recyclable Basketball Arena
(images via: the department for culture, media and sport)
When the Olympics are over, this smart stadium will be deconstructed and recycled. It’s mobile, lightweight, and all of the materials used to create it are set to go to other projects rather than ending up in landfills or languishing, unused, like some of the most iconic Olympic architecture left over from the 2008 games in Beijing.
Compostable Food Packaging Made of Bio Plastics
(images via: comedy nose)
Let’s be real: there are some problems with the London Olympics’ official food sponsor being McDonald’s. How can you call this fast junk food ‘green’? But at least the waste from all of that food packaging that will be generated as 6.5 million people are fed multiple meals and snacks per day will be reduced. All Olympics 2012 food packaging will be made from compostable materials like starch and cellulose.
Copper Box: Rainwater Harvesting & Recycled Materials
(images via: london2012)
Covered in 3,000-square-meters of mostly-recycled copper, the Handball Arena has earned its nickname ‘The Copper Box.’ 88 pipes bring in natural daylight to eliminate the need for electric lighting for most of the day, and the roof collects rainwater for use in the toilets.
Plastic Bottle Recycling Initiative
(images via: coca-cola.co.uk)
In an attempt to reign in all of the plastic beverage bottles that those millions of Olympics spectators will be discarding, Coca-Cola has placed 260 new recycling bins in locations around the city. It’s all part of the soft drink company’s global initiative to recover 50 percent of used bottles and cans by 2015.
Sustainably Sourced Timber at the Aquatics Center
(images via: london2012)
The Olympics’ second-largest building was constructed on a brownfield site using sustainably sourced timber. The exterior is made of precast modular blocks of concrete which eliminate the need for painting, and the stands are made of steel and phthalate-free PVC wrap which will be recycled. Most of the building materials were delivered by train instead of truck to save on fuel.
Reclaimable Shooting Ranges at the Royal Artillery Barracks
(images via: london2012)
The shooting ranges at the Royal Artillery Barracks are another example of temporary, reclaimable buildings at the 2012 Olympics. The shooting ranges were built from steel, covered in plywood and then skinned with phthalate-free PVC membrane that will be recycled after the games. Those blue openings in the white exterior allow natural ventilation inside. Once the centers are dismantled after the game, they’ll be rented out for other events.
Wetlands at the Olympic Park
(image via: LOCOG/Olympics2012)
250 acres of new parklands with thousands of new trees and 300,000 wetland plants were created for London’s Olympic Park, representing the United Kingdom’s largest-ever urban river and wetland planting. The north Olympic Park is formerly a 100-year-old landfill site, and once the Olympics are over they’ll be a peaceful refuge for both people and wildlife, also serving as a floodwater buffer.
Locally Sourced Food – Even at McDonald’s
(images via: LOCOG/london2012)
Much of the food served at the Olympics, including fruits, vegetables, organic milk, cheeses, meats, sustainable fish and cage-free eggs,was sourced in the United Kingdom. And yes – that includes the food being served by McDonald’s. If only the fast food chain would stick to this scheme after the Olympics. The London Olympics committee certainly hopes that they will, or that the experience will at least inspire lasting change of some kind. Part of the purpose behind the local food decree was encouraging Britons and Olympic visitors to eat more healthfully and responsibly.
Real-Time Energy Monitoring System
(images via: visualizing data)
The Olympic Games’ official energy provider, EDF, is giving the public a real-time look at energy consumption at each individual Olympic venue including the Olympic Park, Aquatics Center, Velodrome and Basketball Arena. ‘Power the Games Live‘ gives you a monitoring dashboard called ‘Visi’ that shows daily, weekly, monthly and annual power usage as well as outside temperature, rainfall and daylight/competition hours. It’s a handy way for the public to keep tabs on one of the least environmentally friendly aspects of the Games.
Eco, Green-Roofed Housing for Athletes
(images via: ian patterson)
Athlete housing at the Olympic Village isn’t exactly luxurious – it’s more like college dorms. And while the eco-factors of these facilities pale in comparison to the athletes’ digs in Vancouver, they’re certainly notable. Green roofs make up 40% of the roof space, and the buildings are highly energy-efficient. The village achieved one of the highest green building certifications in the United Kingdom.