How Green Will the London Olympics Be?

London's 2012 Olympic Games are less than 2012 days away. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the public body that has to deliver the goods, has launched their plans to make the event the "greenest games in modern times". Their newly released report sets the sustainable standard for everything from building practices to the use of renewable energy. It focuses on reducing carbon emissions, green transport and a high reuse of materials during construction. It says that "90% of demolition materials from the site will be recycled or reused and that at least 20% of materials used in permanent venues and associated works and the Olympic village will be recycled. Some 20% of electricity demand will be met by renewable sources". The Olympic village will be one quarter more energy efficient than current building regulations require and buildings will use 40% less water than current industry standards. It also "aspires" to bring in 50% of all building materials to the site by rail and local waterways - though this would require an extensive upgrade to the existing channel. The site will have its own mini electricity grid, including a state-of-the-art wind turbine 120 metres high, providing enough electricity to supply 1,200 homes for a year.

Critics say that the plans are a "disappointing missed opportunity". The president of the architecture association said that "sustainability targets for the Olympic village lag worryingly behind the government's own proposals. The ODA sustainability strategy states that the village will be 25% more energy-efficient than buildings built today using current building regulations. Yet the government is already proposing that all new housing should meet that target by 2010 - two years before the games take place". Meanwhile a one hundred year old community allotment garden is to be bulldozed to make way for a footpath. To make matters worse, a report has already been issued that criticizes the handling of the Olympic budget. Stay tuned for years more of controversy. :: Guardian

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