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Olympic site prompts "greener" building in UK: ODA
May 20, 2011 / 4:37 PM / 6 years ago

Olympic site prompts "greener" building in UK: ODA

<p>Construction workers add wooden panelling to the outside of the velodrome at the London Olympic site in Stratford in east London November 18, 2010. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - The environmentally friendly credentials of London’s 2012 Olympic venues are already fuelling “greener” building in Britain and will influence future global events, said the Olympic Development Authority.

In a promise to deliver the ‘greenest ever’ Olympic Games, sustainability was at the heart of London’s bid.

“The contractors are looking to take a lot of the best practices they put in place for our project, and take that back into their businesses,” Richard Jackson, Environment Manager at the ODA, in charge of Olympic build and infrastructure, said.

“We’re also looking to national government, to see if there is a way that they can adopt some of these standards and processes that we’ve put in place around sustainable procurement,” he told Reuters.

The sustainability practices, such as innovation around waste management and water efficiency savings through treating sewage water, developed at the 2.5 square kilometer site in East London will also be the blueprint for future Olympic sites.

Russia and Brazil are looking to London’s ODA for advice on designs focused around sustainability in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi amongst other events.

Brazil is planning more than $1 trillion in construction projects this decade ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

In a recent sustainability report, London’s ODA said that it had met nearly all of the “green” targets, particularly around carbon emissions and water usage.

“The delivery of the venues and infrastructure of the London 2012 Games has been a ... showcase for demonstrating what can be done (in terms of sustainability),” said Anna Surgenor, senior technical advisor at the UK Green Building Council.

“They’ve set the highest targets in any Olympic Games and they’ve probably gone beyond anything else done before, not only in developing standards for the industry, but also in creating legacy,” she added.

Best practices have also being shared with other major UK infrastructure projects such as the 15 billion pound Crossrail commuter rail line to be built under London’s streets.

“We’re starting to capture all this information in a series of case studies so we can make this available to the construction industry later this year,” said Jackson.


Construction of the London Olympic venues and infrastructure is 83 percent complete, with the 43 million pound handball arena becoming the third venue on the park to be completed.

Crowd pleasers such as the Velodrome, with its design using sustainably-sourced timber also boasts the title of the most energy-efficient venue on the Park.

However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the ODA was meeting its renewable target, after plans to build a 120-meter wind turbine were abandoned last year.

But other green attributes of the site include two million tonnes of contaminated soil being cleaned prior to construction, and 99 percent of the old industrial buildings being reused or recycled. Even venues such as the basketball arena will effectively be recycled, with each panel a standard size so it can go back into the market to be resold.

The main stadium design includes recycled utility pipe in the upper roof, designed by the contractors after being asked to incorporate 20 percent recycled material.

“The big thing for us has been to create a culture within the organization to drive forward sustainability,” said Jackson.

“We had to put in place a lot of standards, ... we really wanted to push the boundaries, we wanted to go further than the industry had gone before hence some of the targets around waste, around material use and water use,” he added.

The Olympic Park site is due to be delivered on time and within budget. The overall cost remains within the 9.3 billion pound budget, including contingency.

Reporting by Lorraine Turner

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