2012 Summer Olympics – the greenest Games in history

Green Olympics in 2012
Sustainable Development in the Olympics: Report from Jones Lang LaSalle

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London this July will be the greenest Games in history, expanding on the legacy of sustainable development that has expanded in past Olympics.

London partnered with World Wildlife Fund and BioRegional to create “One Planet Olympics,” a program that addresses energy¸ carbon, water, waste reduction, biodiversity; access and inclusion; public health, and employment considerations.

Green strategies include:

– Development of renewable energy and distributed local power generation to minimize
– Venues that use 30 to 40 percent less drinkable water than standard
– A pledge of zero waste to landfill during the Games
– Re-use of 90 percent of demolition waste
– Creation of 45 hectares of wetland habitat and 675 boxes for flying animals within Olympic Park.

In addition, buildings created for the Olympics, including 17,000 flats for athletes and other residential and shopping properties, are designed for use after the Games and use sustainable design elements.

A new report from Jones Lang LaSalle traces the path of sustainable development as Olympic planners and host cities over the past 20 years have increasingly recognized the synergy between economic and environmental sustainability.

“Hosting the Olympic Games focuses the world’s attention on a city, so it’s vitally important that the development of an Olympic Village and sports venues considers environmental and economic impacts on the city during and after the Games,” said Dan Probst, Chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle. “As an advisor and program manager on Olympics and other large-scale projects, we see the increasing focus that cities place on development that enables sustainable economic growth while minimizing environmental impact.”

Entitled “Olympian steps for sustainability,” the Jones Lang LaSalle report notes that an environmental focus at Olympic sites extends at least as far back as 1994, when the International Olympic Committee added “Environment” to “Sport” and “Culture” as a guiding principle. Since then, nearly every Olympiad has seen the focus on sustainability increase as cities increasingly consider environmental impacts of developments and plan for post-Olympic uses of sports venues and residences.

Beijing‘s poor air quality was a concern during the 2008 Olympics, despite a USD $17 billion program of environmental improvement, including increase vehicle emission standards, development of a 126-mile ring of trees around the city to absorb pollen and dust, and the planting of 30 million trees and shrubs on 720 of newly cleared green space within the city. Despite these and other strategies, researchers later said air contaminants were two to four times higher in Beijing than in other recent host cities, with some apparent negative effects on the performance of Olympians.