Thursday, February 17, 2011

Future Olympics Are Working Toward Sustainability

Here is a guest blog post written by Nerissa Barry:

Substantial Environmental Changes to International Event
Since Rio de Janeiro was announced as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, discussion centers now on which city will win the 2022 bid for the Winter Games. The United States might be a serious contender. If a city in the United States captures the bid, the United States Olympic Committee would logically look to increase their athletic achievement in the Winter Games, as well as work to construct an environmentally friendly space for the games to take place in.

In acknowledging the amazing display of athleticism found at the Olympics, it is also admittedly a carbon-rich event. Scientists have estimated that more than 2/3 of carbon emissions are produced from the event. This high statistic is a result of the fact that of the 1.5 million Olympic spectators, most travel via airplane.

The USOC members are committed to finding ways to continue the environmentally conscious ideas carried out at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The summer Olympics showcased serious efforts toward conservation, sustainability, and alternative energy sources.  In Beijing, sustainable efforts were directed toward,

               Solar power - Solar power lit up lawns, streets, courtyards, and several venues, including some within the Olympic Village. A 130 KW photovoltaic lighting system illuminated the city's National Stadium, the main venue for the football competition.
               Water Conservation - Waste water was collected from the Qinghe sewage treatment plant and filtered back to be used by the village and other grounds various heating and cooling requirements. This water conservation measure saved 60% in electricity. Rainwater was also collected from the site grounds. In summary, over 75,000 gallons of water was collected via porous bricks, road pipes and wells installed on roofs.
               Natural Light - Remember the 'Water Cube' where the aquatic events were held? The walls of the National Aquatics Centre provided natural light, 'beam-pipes' moved sunlight through corridors, toilets, and car parks at many of the venues, including the Olympic Green.
               Recycling - The 2008 Olympic hosts set a goal of 50% recycling of waste paper, metals, and plastics.

While the Olympics in 2008 had great new ways to use filtration and insulation for the events, the IOC as well as the USOC is hoping to progress that vision to include many other products that will help reduce waste and promote conservation. You can expect these products to appear all over the market in the next year. With the USOC recommendation and commentators suggesting that a city within the United States will win the 2022 bid, a fully sustainable and green-powered Olympic Games is closer then we might believe.

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