May 17, 2020

London's 2012 Olympic Village, is It Green Enough?

Olympics
eco
eco building
green
Admin
3 min
Agenda calls for a 44% reduction in CO2 emissions
Click here to experience this article in our digital reader Written by Heather Rushworth The Olympics is that sacred time of year where the worlds peo...

 

Click here to experience this article in our digital reader

Written by Heather Rushworth

The Olympics is that sacred time of year where the world’s people come together – from all creeds, and walks of life – and waste valuable resources in unison. With the blink of an eye enthusiastic crowds fill landfills with trash, transportation fumes smother the once clear sky, and millions of feeble ants are smashed under the stampede of frenzied fans’ boots.

Let’s not let our liberal tree-hugging ideas spur hasty judgment on the topic, after all, environmental disregard is what makes the Olympics fun. The Olympics are all about dominating nature, showing the old hag whose boss. And these ‘games’ are a mere vehicle to showcase physical brawn and vigor over the natural environment, a mere means to violently roar, “Take this ocean. Take this horse. Take this Badminton.”

Okay, perhaps these smug assumptions are a bit outlandish. The Olympics actually have made an effort to not only better their toll on the natural environment, but to greatly improve the conditions of the environment of the city they inhabit. The International Olympic Committee says this about their endeavors on their website, “The Olympics should provide a positive sustainable and environmental legacy that will last well beyond the Olympics themselves.”

This green ambition started in Sydney in 2000, when the Olympic committee chose to regenerate a Brownfield industrial site that had degenerated to a partial waste landfill – ultimately renovating it into their deluxe Olympic Stadium, and this eco agenda has only compounded over the years proving that 2012 is bound to be the Olympics greatest show of environmental initiatives to date.

Read more in July's issue of Energy Digital: The Future of Transportation

One of the major feats of the Olympic Village’s eco-agenda is the way their facilities have met London’s new ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level Four’ standards, which calls for a forty-four percent reduction in carbon emissions and a thirty percent reduction in water usage. This is a big deal considering the village will contain nearly 3,000 new apartments and 16,000 athletes and officials. The use of ‘green roofs’ on these buildings has been a major factor in the decreasing of such emissions.

Power for portions of the games will be generated by biomass boilers and a combined cooling heat and power plant, which are known for achieving low-carbon energy rates. In order to offset any carbon emissions that do sneak out on the Olympics’ behalf, the games are planting more than four thousand trees and a half a million plants, resulting in one of the largest landscaping projects ever taken on by the UK.

The Copper Box building which will host handball, goalball and the pentathlon, is roofed in approximately 3,000 square meters of largely recycled copper cladding, and is reducing the need for artificial lighting by forty percent by utilizing the conservation capacities of eighty-eight light pipes.

On the water front, rainwater harvesting will be used to flush the Copper Box’s toilets, reducing water use by forty percent. In the Aquatic Center, recycled aluminum was used for the roof’s structure, and one of the building’s supporting walls will double as a biodiversity space for wildlife.

However, it is the main stadium that gets the gold medal for sustainable efforts. London’s arena reduced steel consumption to such an extent that it is seventy-five percent lighter than all comparable stadiums. The gas pipes are made from recycled materials, and the concrete used is low-carbon.

While it is the peak abilities of the games’ athletes that will draw the crowds, it is the eco-measures of the Olympics that will make a cultural impact for years to come.

London Olympic Park Fly Through

 

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Jul 30, 2021

Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector

marineenergy
renewableenergy
tidalturbine
Sustainability
3 min
The UK’s nascent marine energy sector starts exporting electricity to the grid as the most powerful tidal turbine in the world begins to generate power

Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre

At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable. 

How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?

Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.” 

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement. 

The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.

“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government. 

“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”

However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future. 

We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.” 

The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours

This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly

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