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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Building the Green Olympics

By Mark Spence
Construction Global

Photo/Rendering Credit: LA 2028 Organizing Committee

Photo/Rendering Credit: LA 2028 Organizing Committee

Following the recommendations contained in Agenda 2020 by the IOC, and its request that candidate cities must present projects closely adhering to their long-term social, financial and environmental planning needs, now, more than ever, ‘greenness’ will be a vital cornerstone of any winning Olympic bid. With this in mind, what new measures, techniques and approaches can we expect to see implemented from the 2024 cycle onwards? 

The history of the Olympics is littered with what could be considered failures. Ghost town Olympic villages, redundant stadiums and a sheer lack of concrete evidence of genuine sustainability from previous Games, highlight some of the issues endured by previous hosts. It’s hardly surprising then that Boston, Budapest, Rome and Hamburg all pulled their bids for the 2024 games mid-race, fearing high costs and local opposition.

So, what will Paris and LA do differently?

The Paris masterplan

“For us it is quite simple. Our vision is the most sustainable Games ever,” Paris bid co-Chair and member of the IOC’s Sustainability and Legacy Commission, Tony Estanguet, told the South China Morning Post in January. “We will also have low carbon installations for the rare venues we have to build and we will use specific materials to reduce the overall carbon footprint.” These claims are backed up by the Paris committee’s aims in their project program including:

  • 100% bio-based materials
  • 100%green energy during the Games
  • Over 26 hectares of biodiversity created on the Olympic sites in Seine-Saint-Denis

In addition, architects, Populous and engineers, Egis, will mastermind the construction of 38 Olympic and Paralympic venues across Paris. Their masterplan will involve the use of a number of existing buildings in the city and see temporary venues installed in some of the capital’s most famous attractions. The Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées as well as the aforementioned River Seine will all become backdrops for events.

Central to the winning Paris bid is the idea of using existing infrastructure, more specifically, venues and temporary structures. Indeed, the only new major construction will be an aquatics centre. Crucially, these ambitions are echoed by the LA 2028 committee’s proposals.

Radical reuse

LA 2028 has delivered a comprehensive sustainability program built on the concept of ‘radical reuse’. Essentially this idea focuses on the use of LA’s existing world-class venues, rather than creating any new permanent structures. Executive Director of Sustainability and Legacy, Brence Culp, told Global Construction: “Radical reuse is the core principle of the LA 2028 Sustainability Program. It refers to LA 2028’s plan that requires no new permanent construction. Every facility of our Games Plan, from sports venues, to the Olympic Village at UCLA, to the Media Village and other media facilities at the University of Southern California (USC), already exists, will exist independently of the Games, or will be temporary. This approach allows LA 2028 to avoid the environmental and carbon impact of the large construction projects typically associated with the Games.”

Read the full story here.

Volvo Ocean Race Scientific Data Reveals Millions of Tiny Plastic Particles in European Waters

The findings, revealed by scientists at the Cape Town Ocean Summit, have been discovered using data collected by Volvo Ocean Race yachts

by Jonno Turner
Volvo Ocean Race

Cape Town stopover. Dee Caffari during the Ocean Summit. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 07 December, 2017.

Cape Town stopover. Dee Caffari during the Ocean Summit. Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race. 07 December, 2017.

Millions of tiny particles of plastic have been detected in European waters in ground breaking scientific research conducted as part of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The scientific research, using data collected by Race team ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’, identified over three million micro plastic particles per square kilometre of ocean.

The sub-surface data on micro plastic pollution levels was collected using a state-of-the-art instrument on board their Volvo Ocean 65 racing yacht.

The initial results, gathered during the Prologue stage and Leg 1 of the Race, between Lisbon and Alicante, were presented by Dr Toste Tanhua during the first morning of the two-day Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit, held in the event’s Cape Town stopover on Thursday. The samples collected during Leg 2 are currently being analysed and results will be revealed in due course.

“Our initial findings suggest that the levels of micro plastic in the ocean are significantly higher than we first expected,” said Tanhua, who works at GEOMAR, an ocean research institute in Kiel, Germany.

“This is alarming as the micro plastic not only harms a wide range of marine life, but, through entering the food chain, in species such as tuna and mackerel, can cause harm to humans, too.”

Micro plastic is small particles of plastic often invisible to the naked eye – and can take thousands of years to degrade.

Tanhua continued: “Existing scientific data only accounts for around 1% of all plastic in the ocean – but thanks to the support of Volvo Ocean Race and Volvo Cars, and the efforts of the Turn the Tide on Plasti c team in conducting this research, we’re building a knowledge base which is essential to ocean science around the globe.”

Read the full story here.

 

Sailors Tour Cape Town to Understand the Impacts of the Drought

Vestas 11th Hour Racing

Grant is given to Environmental Monitoring Group by 11th Hour Racing

Photo Credit: Vestas 11th Hour Racing

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (6 December 2017) – After sailing 7,000 miles from Lisbon, Portugal, the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, to realize that despite having been in the middle of the ocean, their access to fresh water was more consistent than what is available to many in Cape Town. Since 2015, this city and the surrounding area has been facing a severe drought, the worst in recorded history for the region, which climate scientists’ anticipate is a general drying trend for the western parts of southern Africa.

With this crisis in mind, 11th Hour Racing identified Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) as the recipient of their $10,000 grant in Cape Town – this is the third out of the 12 grants that 11th Hour Racing will award throughout the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean as part of their legacy project with Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

EMG is an independent, not-for-profit organization established in 1991. Its work covers a broad range of topics, tied together by the common thread to protect the natural environment and resources that sustain life. This includes fair trade farming, sustainable rural development, and raising awareness and highlighting solutions to the impacts of climate change in the region, including equitable access to water and social justice.

“The truth is that there is no silver bullet for Cape Town’s water crisis. There are no more rivers left to dam, and groundwater aquifers are finite. Desalination is energy intensive, and in South Africa, that means using more fossil-fuel and increasing CO2 emissions,” said Stephen Law, Director of the Environmental Monitoring Group. “At EMG, we are working with communities to reconnect with the value of water and respect for this resource. Discussing not only the best ways to conserve and reuse water, but looking to the future and asking if we should be changing the priorities of water use from swimming pools and green lawns to drinking water for all and water for local farming.”

To learn more about EMG’s work and mission, sailors from Vestas 11th Hour Racing, along with their partners at 11th Hour Racing, Bluewater, and staff from the Volvo Ocean Race, left the race village and headed on a tour of Cape Town.

Read the full story here.

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