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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.

Dow Recognized by Green Sports Alliance for Climate Solutions Framework for Events



The introduction of a practical emissions mitigation framework for the Olympic Games, Rio 2016, has earned The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Michigan, a win of its own — the Green Sports Alliance’s Environmental Innovator of the Year award.

The Innovators of the Year awards from the Green Sports Alliance recognize and celebrate the best in sports and sustainability. The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play to inspire leagues, colleges, teams and fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and environmentally preferable practices.

Working with Naturebank, a global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk and social consulting services, Dow created an innovative Climate Solutions Framework to encourage wider adoption of cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Framework provides event owners, in collaboration with partners, an approach to quantify and mitigate the impact of events while leaving a positive legacy through the adoption of innovative low-carbon technologies.

“This is a welcomed acknowledgement of the impact Dow’s Climate Solutions Framework delivered at the intersection of science and sport,” said Louis Vega, Dow’s Vice President of Olympic & Sports Solutions and President of Australia & New Zealand. “Dow’s portfolio of sustainable solutions enabled industries to do more with less, switch to lower-carbon energy sources and conserve energy through more efficient solutions. The Olympic Games Rio 2016 was the benchmark for partnerships in how a global sport catalyst can be a facilitator for change.”

Read the full story here.

LA 2024 Announces Annual Green Medal Awards Sports Sustainability Contest

2017.06.27-NewsFeed-LA2024 Green Medal Awards-IMAGE

LA 2024 today announces a national annual sports sustainability contest called the LA 2024 Green Medal Awards to encourage American sports teams, leagues, universities, venue operators and other sports organizations to adopt cutting-edge sustainability practices throughout the build-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The LA 2024 Green Medal Awards will be officially unveiled on Wednesday at the renowned Green Sports Alliance Summit inside the Sacramento, California, Golden 1 Center – the world’s first LEED Platinum indoor sports venue. If LA is chosen to host the Games, LA 2024 would work with industry leaders to develop the rules, process, and prizes for the LA 2024 Green Medal Awards. The Awards would be held annually during the years preceding the LA Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Olympic Agenda 2020’s Recommendation 4 calls for including sustainability in all aspects of the Olympic Games, whilst Recommendation 5 concerns embracing sustainability within the Olympic Movement’s daily operations. The announcement of the Green Medal Awards demonstrates LA 2024’s commitment to delivering a truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games while using the Games’ unparalleled platform to inspire long-term adoption of sustainable sports practices.

LA 2024 has a comprehensive sustainability program that starts with its vision of “radical reuse” – using LA’s existing world-class venues and not building any new permanent venues. This is a unique achievement that by itself would make LA 2024 the Greenest Games in history. LA 2024 is also committed to hosting zero waste, water accountable, and energy positive Games.

LA 2024’s Executive Director of Sustainability and Legacy Brence Culp said: “LA 2024 is committed to delivering a truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games. With no new permanent venues to build, LA 2024 is able to focus on not only producing the Greenest Games in history, but inspiring others to follow suit. The LA 2024 Green Medal Awards will tap into the competitive spirit of sports venue operators, leagues, and teams to encourage and incentivize sustainable practices nationally and internationally.”

AEG’s Vice President of Energy and the Environment John Marler said: “AEG is thrilled that LA 2024 is leading the charge in promotion of sustainable sport. LA is always on the edge of ‘what’s next,’ and that includes environmental leadership. Through the Green Medal Awards, LA 2024 will energize the industry, leagues, and others to invest in innovative green solutions.”

Read the full release here.