After the brilliant green step made by Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, London is expecting to make the London 2012 Summer Olympics even greener. In 2005, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) pledged to organize the first sustainable Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Yet, every Olympic Games always make the same promises to be bigger, cleaner and greener. With only a few weeks left before the opening ceremony, will the pledge of being the most green olympics yet be delivered?
Making a short-term event such as the Summer Olympics sustainable is a quiet complex task. The Athens games are a great example of wasted facilities, all abandoned and covered with graffiti. It is the 2004 Olympic legacy that LOCOG wanted to avoid by presenting an ambitious and sustainable plan for the 2012 summer Olympics: Towards a One Planet 2012.
- Coming with the organization of the Olympics, in 2007, the British Standards Institution created a new standard: BS 8901 that has been developed “specifically for the events industry with a purpose of helping the industry to operate in a more sustainable manner. The standard defines the requirements for a sustainability event management system to ensure an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress relating to events.” The same year, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 was created to meet BS8901 requirements.
- Sustainable Development has been taken into account since the beginning of the Olympics organization. In Olympics Park, rainwater has been collected in order to reduce the amount of potable water used in the buildings. The construction firms have a water reduction target of 40 percent!
- In Olympics Park, visitors and athletes will mainly find organic and local foods. They will also be encouraged to recycle and compost their waste by sorting between different bins.
- Venues: In order to respect the initial budget (around 11 billion), the LOCOG has limited the construction of new venues that would probably become useless at the end of the Games. When it was possible, the committee decided to use existing venues such as Wimbledon. If facilities could be reused, they were built with an effort to reduce the environmental impact of the construction process. For example, the Olympic Stadium is described as the greenest yet. It has been built using low carbon concrete, which sees a 40% reduction in the use of carbon. When no future reuse was identified, the LOCOG asked for temporary Olympics constructions that can be removed and reused at other events. Demountable, and reusable buildings replace permanent structures to meet the challenge to build memorable yet sustainable venues.
- Olympics Park has been built on a former polluted, deprived and neglected industrial zone of east London. 2 million tons of polluted ground have been cleaned and reused.
During London 2012, around 17,700 athletes and officials will stay in 3,300 apartments in the Village. After the Games, the Olympic Village will be transformed into 2,800 homes for the underprivileged population of the area.