Planet Inspired: London won the gold medal its sustainability efforts

 The London Olympic Games were the first to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and to boast eco-sustainable buildings

London won the gold medal its sustainability efforts, during the recent Summer Olympic Games. The facilities facilities- from the Olympic Park to the Velodrome to the main Stadium – make wide use of recycled materials and follow waste management guidelines. All purchases inside the Olympic Park and all packaging are 100% recyclable while the disposable products are green and made in Italy.

The London Paralympic Games (parallel to the Olympics), now in progress, are taking place, for the most part, in the same facilities as the Olympics, with a diverse group of athletes competing.
They provide science the possibility of evaluating rehabilitation and preparation systems and testing health as well as testing mechanical devices that help to overcome handicaps and increase performance. In other words, the Paralympics games are an occasion for discovery, experience, and progress in the science and technology fields.

The flag of sustainability flies over the Paralympic facilities as it did during the XXX Games of the modern era, starting with the industrial area of Stratford, covering an area equal to 297 football fields, that was completely reclaimed. The terrain contained tar, oil, solvents, lead and arsenic. The London Olympics were also the first games to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and have eco-sustainable buildings.

The Olympic Park, for example, obtained the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certificate, for the use of recycled wood in the construction of the buildings. Two thirds of all the wood used came from managed plantations. The “Velodrome” has 17 kilometers of recycled steel cables, equal to twice the height of Mount Everest. The project is based on the efficient use of natural ventilation, to the extent that there was no need to install an air-conditioning system. For the construction of the three Olympic swimming pools, the more than 800,000 ceramic tiles needed were delivered by train directly inside the Olympic Park. 50 percent of all construction material was transported via water or rail.

The 80,000-seat Main Stadium, that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, is the lightest building in the Olympics. The load-bearing structure of the roof was built with 2500 tons of recycled steel pipes. The walkway that leads to West Ham station, on the other hand, is illuminated round-the-clock thanks to the pressure created by the people walking on it.
The system was built by the British company Pavegen. It is estimated that it will be stepped on more than 12 million times, generating 12,000,000 joules. Enough to light the walkway for 8 hours at full power during the evening and 16 hours at half power during the day. The system should also produce a surplus of 35% that will be stored in batteries.

It is therefore understandable why the Games obtained the British environmental sustainability certificate Breeam and complied with the Iso 20121 standard, that derives from the work of the British Standards Intitution, responsible for defining the new global standard for sustainable event management systems. In 2008, a representative of this interdisciplinary group came to Turin, Italy, to meet with the people in charge of the scientific preparation of the project "Events with reduced environmental impact" applied to the Salone del Gusto e Terra Madre.

The purpose of the visit was to study the use of products and techniques to reduce the impact of the large event on the ecosystem as much as possible. The materials analyzed included Novamont’s Mater-Bi, used for the production of biodegradable and naturally compostable single-use items. The results of the study were positive and the organizers of the Olympic Games decided to distribute in their restaurants the cutlery and cups with lids developed by the three companies (in Novara, Vicenza and Naples respectively), flagship of Italian research in this sector. All purchases inside the Olympic Park and all packaging were therefore 100%.

“In London, we showed that some solutions can be valid and exported from extraordinary events such as the Olympics to organic waste collection management systems in British towns,” stated Alberto Castellanza, head of Novamont’s catering sector.
In conclusion, Italy with its state of the art companies was undoubtedly helping to carry the green flag in London.

Source: Planet Inspired