London 2012 – the first green Olympic Games?
When the UK bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games they promised that;
“We weren’t only going to put on the biggest sporting event in the world; we were going to hold the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games”
But did they achieve in making one of the biggest international events sustainable? And how did they actually plan to make sustainabe Olympic Games possible?
The official website of the Olympic Games 2012 london2012.com provides information about the ambitious plans, the UK followed. On The blogging website “Telegraph” I discoverd a post by Louise Gray, called “London 2012:Olympics: How green are the “most sustainable Olympics ever”?(2012).
By comparing the statements on both websites, I want to analyze if London 2012 kept their green promise:
Instead of building new venues, the Olympic Committee decided to use existing venues like Wimbleton or Earls Court. Out of the 10 biggest Olympic venues, only 3 are newly built; whereas the other stadiums are temporary buildings.
Accoring to Louise Gray, also the newly built venues, like the Velodrome, are great sustainable architectural projects, because “Overall a tenth as much steel was used as its equivalent in Beijing four years ago. ” Moreover old gas pipelines were used to build the roof of the Olympic Stadium and energy consumption is reduced by using natural light and ventilation.
However not all building are as sustainable as the Velodrome. The acquatics centre is made out of concrete and steel and ” just passed sustainability standards”.
Still, In combination with the idea of using old venues, London 2012 definately succeeded in making it’s building sustainable and green.
For the Olympic Games 2012 millions of people were expected to travel through around London.
In order to keep the traffic running smoothly and energy saving at the same time, London worked hard to improve the public transportation system consisting of the Tube, busses and trains.
In addittion the “Active Travel Programme” was promoting cycling and walking in London.
What does Louise Gray comment on that?
All in all London 2012 managed to run the public transport system smoothly. However the active travel programme did not succeed, because bikers were not even allowed to bring their bikes on trains and not enough bike lanes were constructed.
But still, London 2012 managed to transport a huge amount of visitors by public transportation and also invested in permanent improvements of the public transport structure.
Food & Recycling
The London 2012 Food vision was, to provide a high variability of affordable, local food and by reducing waste and packaging in order to cause minimal impact on the environment.
Moreover the Olympic Committee wanted waste to be recycled by 70%.
Louise Gray states that “All restaurants have signed up to a ‘Food Vision’ that means they source ingredients locally.”
McDonalds,sponsor of the Olympic Games, also used British ingredients and by opening the biggest McDonalds, all eyes were focusing on McDonald’s local food strategy.
But accoring to Louise Gray, only 10 % of the meals offered at the Olympic Games were provided by McDonalds.
In addittion the aim to recylce 70% of waste is achieved, however a major problem regarding waste and trash is still the segregation of materials.
Did London 2012 achieve in hosting the first green Olympic Games?
In my opinion they definately did! Especially the integration of sustainable architecture into the Olympic context and the way they reduced the energy consumption of the huge venues is amazing.
London 2012 showed a different way to host the Olympic Games and although the sustainability could still be improved, they made large achievements in making the world more sustainable and green.