Opening ceremonies at the 2012 London Olympics
Opening ceremonies at the 2012 London Olympics

2012 London Olympics

The £9-10 billion 2012 London Olympics endeavored to minimize CO2 emissions, minimized waste, and maximized the use of renewable energy, environmentally-friendly transit, and recycling. Renewable energy (featuring wind and biomass) supplied at least 20% of the energy for the Olympic park and village. There were over 50 miles of walking and cycle routes around the Olympic park, and over 250 acres of open, green spaces. The Olympic Park and Village were developed as fully sustainable centers using the latest green technologies to create them.

Ready-made concrete containing a large amount of recycled material minimized the carbon footprint of the construction process. Recycled material was used in as much of the new development as possible, right down to play equipment for kids. The area functioned as housing (over 2800 homes) after the athletes were gone, highlighting green spaces and public transit in order to enhance the overall marketability of the development. Homes were built to conserve energy and water, through features like high tech insulation, glazing and ventilation, as well as efficient appliances. The Olympic Village focused on maximizing sustainable mass transit and minimizing car use. The Olympic Village featured a brand new rail station, an extension of the existing Docklands light rail system and expanded bus routes.

New cycle routes, linking to existing ones, were created for the Olympic parks and the London Cycle Network. The design of the Village also placed emphasis on pedestrians, with walkways connecting streets, green spaces and the Olympic Park. In total, Games organizers saved the equivalent of 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide thanks to their sustainable practices. 100% of Olympic Games operations’ waste was diverted from landfills, with 62% of that waste being reused, recycled, or composted. Additionally, 99% of the waste from installing and taking down the Games’ venues was reused or recycled.

Please also see: Green urban planning

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