Housing project to help Olympics beat CO2 goal

30th April 2012


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The London 2012 Olympic Games is set to exceed its 50% carbon reduction target, by improving the energy-efficiency of homes and schools in the local area

In the second of three reports outlining how London 2012 is progressing towards meeting its sustainability targets, the Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) confirmed that that the games are on target to meet its environmental targets, with a retrofit project in East London making up the shortfall in CO2 savings it was facing after a renewable energy project fell through.

In last year’s report, LOCOG revealed that plans to have a wind turbine onsite had to be scrapped, meaning it would not meet its target to source 20% of its energy from renewable sources and leaving it 1,000 tonnes short of its goal to reduce final CO2 emissions from the Olympic site by 50% against 2006 industry standards.

During 2011, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) concluded it would best achieve the CO2 savings by investing in energy-efficiency measures locally, and in a new partnership with the Greater London Authority, it will retrofit 2,800 homes and eight schools in the area, saving 1,300 tonnes of CO2 and putting the site on track to cut emissions by the equivalent of 58%.

According to the report, operational efficiencies such as cutting energy demand from lighting, also contributed significantly to the target, removing 2,081 tonnes of emissions, and a further 2,842 tonnes of CO2 will be saved through the use of a biomass-fuelled combined heat and power station, which will power venues.

Despite the loss of the wind turbine, projects such as installing photovoltaic panels on the roof of the press centre, has meant the ODA will source 10.8% of its energy from renewables, higher than the 9% predicted in last year’s report and meeting its revised 10% target.

LOCOG also confirmed the games are on set to deliver all of the other environmental requirements imposed at the outset, including a 40% reduction in water demand in the permanent venues (in comparison to current industry practice), and the creation of 45 hectares of biodiversity rich habitats.

LOCOG’s head of sustainability, David Stubbs, said: “The complexities of trying to address sustainability in areas that have never been considered before was a constant challenge but we are thrilled with the outcome of our programme.”

The ODA’s efforts were praised by the United Nations environment programme’s (UNEP) executive director, Achim Steiner, who visited the site last week.

“Efforts such as the greening of the supply chain, regeneration of an inner city area and bringing energy efficiency measures to local homes, can build the confidence to wider society that sustainability is not theory but infinitely do-able with the policies and technologies available today not tomorrow,” he said.

Jonathon Porritt, chair of the London 2012 sustainability ambassadors, said: “The scale of ambition involved in what will undoubtedly be the world’s most sustainable games to date is gob-smacking... it’s such a good story that emerges, as this report spells out.”

The 300-page report, which can be downloaded from the London 2012 website, reveals how the ODA approached meeting its environmental targets including information on individual initiatives, such as Thames Water’s blackwater recycling plant, and links to more detailed case studies.

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