The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced that Rio de Janeiro will be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, with that there has been a lot of talk already about who will take the bid for the 2022 Winter Games. Many say that the United States is seriously pushing to win the bid. If they do indeed capture the bid, the United States Olympics Committee (USOC) would be looking to further their athletic dominance in the Winter events, as well as work to make the event more environmentally friendly.
With the International Olympic Committee on the same page it’s only helping to increase the talk about the Olympics going green. By announcing CEO Andrew Liveris and DOW Chemical as the official sponsor of the Olympics for the next decade, many are beginning to see just how serious their effort is. The International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge believes the overall commitment that DOW and going green has to advancement, sustainability, and corporate responsibility parallels the Olympic Movement of peace, progress, and international collaboration.
While an event like the Olympics could not be more unifying or a better celebration, it’s quite a carbon-rich event. So while these changes may only seem minor, they’re actually a huge deal. It has been estimated that over 2/3 of the carbon emissions from the event is a result of some of the 1.5+ million attendees traveling (mostly via airplane) to and from the event.
CEO Andrew Liveris and USOC members are looking to do more by following the lead of the 2008 Summer Games, held in Beijing. The summer Olympics made great efforts to showcase conservation practices and sustainable energy sources. Exactly what environmentally friendly services did the Olympic facilities feature?
- Solar power - Used to light lawns, courtyards and streets at several venues, including the Olympic Village. A 130 KW photovoltaic system illuminated The National Stadium, where events such as athletics and football were held.
- Water Conservation - Waste water collected from the Qinghe sewage treatment plant was filtered and used for the various heating and cooling needs throughout the Olympics site, yielding a 60% savings in electricity. Rainwater was collected from around the grounds, collecting over 75,000 gallons by using water permeable bricks, pipes and wells installed on roofs, roads and green areas.
- Natural Light - Remember the famous ‘Water Cube’ where the aquatic events were held? The walls of the National Aquatics Centre provided natural light, and for the interior of the building, specially designed ‘beam-pipes’ funneled sunlight into corridors, toilets and car parks at venues, including the Olympic Green.
- Recycling - The 2008 Olympic hosts aimed for a 50% recycling of waste including paper, metals and plastics at venues. A modest expectation, considering that a test run carried out during the 11th World Softball Championships held in 2007, achieved a nearly 90 per cent recycling rate.
You can expect these products and more new ones to appear at the coming events over the next decade and be a part of the USOC recommendations and many commentators are reporting whispers that if the United States wins the 2022 bid there will be major steps toward a sustainable and green powered 2022 Olympic games.
Co-written by Nerissa Barry and Daniel Fielding