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London Olympics to Reuse 90% of Demolition Waste

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will reuse 90 percent of demolition waste, send zero waste to the landfill and its venues will use 30 to 40 percent less drinkable water than standard, making London the “greenest Games in history,” according to a report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

London has partnered with World Wildlife Fund and BioRegional to create One Planet Olympics, a program that addresses energy carbon, water, waste reduction, biodiversity and public health, the report says.

The plans goal’s include:

  • Developing a decentralized energy network using combined heat and power technology, which would save up to 30 percent when compared to standard national grid-supplied electricity and individual housing unit heating.
  • Using renewable sources for 20 percent of energy needs, although Jones Lang LaSalle says this target is in jeopardy because an on-site 2-MW wind turbine was scrapped for safety reasons. The Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 reduced its renewable energy forecast to 11 percent for the Games. However, organizers report that through other measures such as renting instead of buying many infrastructure components and cutting 969,000 square feet from venue spaces, overall carbon emission forecasts are about 315,000 metric tons — 20 percent less than an estimate of two years ago.
  • Installing a dual water system in new buildings with separate supplies of drinking and recycled water.
  • Cleaning up all contaminated soil on site, using five soil washing machines and a bioremediation plant that will clean 1.3 million tons of soil by the time they are finished, instead of landfilling contaminated soil.
  • Making food packaging that cannot be reused or recycled from compostable materials such as starch and cellulose-based bioplastics.
  • Designating 45 hectares of wildlife wetland habitat and 675 bird nesting boxes in Olympic Park, ensuring that otters, swans, bats and scores of other wildlife will occupy the same area as athletes and spectators. In addition, the Games will remediate invasive Japanese knotweed has enabled more diverse native species to proliferate.

Titled “Olympian steps for sustainability,” the Jones Lang LaSalle report says that an environmental focus at Olympic sites extends at least as far back as 1994, when the International Olympic Committee added “Environment” to “Sport” and “Culture” as a guiding principle.

The financial and professional services firm is advising the London Olympics, although it says much of its work remains confidential. Jones Land LaSalle also worked with the Chinese government on sustainability initiatives for Beijing’s 2008 Games.

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