THE GREENEST OLYMPIC GAMES
Most of the new purpose-built Olympic sporting venues — being constructed in Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush Bay and throughout Sydney's western suburbs — have been designed to maximize energy efficiency, conserve water, and preserve indoor air quality. All are constructed from environmentally-friendly materials, using building processes specially designed to minimize waste.
There are numerous examples of energy conservation throughout all the new Olympic venues. One of the shining examples is the natural ventilation in the Olympic Stadium — achieved by the use of oversized lift shafts, stairwells and escalator voids which draw in cool air while allowing warm air to escape. In addition, two 500-kilowatt gas co-generation engines supply a large share of the Stadium's energy requirements — these produce 40 per cent less harmful greenhouse gases than conventional mains electricity.
Air conditioning at the Aquatic Centre has been designed to cool only the air immediately surrounding the spectators, not around the pool — meaning less energy is needed for both cooling the venue and heating the pool. Similar systems are used in the SuperDome and 'Dome' exhibition hall in the Showgrounds.
The Novotel and Ibis Hotel Homebush Bay has Australia's largest solar hot water system on its roof. The 4002 square metre plant will supply 60 per cent of the Hotel's hot water requirements, reducing the total energy consumption by 15 per cent.
The use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Olympic Village make it an inspired example of world's best practice. Design elements of Village housing, in terms of orientation, shading, cross ventilation and energy efficient appliances, mean that energy demand is reduced by fifty per cent — and most of that energy is met by solar power. The Village is one of the largest solar powered communities in the world, generating one million kilowatt hours of electricity per year — the size of a small power station. Photovoltaic panels integrated into the roof of each house generate enough electricity to meet each dwelling's needs.
A number of the venues, including SOCOG Headquarters, purchase renewable energy as part of their energy supply. This electricity is generated by solar, wind, hydro or biomass and is distributed through the Sydney electricity grid.
The conservation of one of life's most precious resources, water, has been a key factor in the design of all Sydney Olympic venues. All the design teams working on Olympic venues and facilities have been required to demonstrate that their designs incorporate multiple water conservation solutions.
One of the ways water wastage will be minimised within Olympic venues is the installation of more efficient appliances and fittings, including water-flow reduction valves and shower roses, dual-flush toilets, roof-fed rainwater tanks and drip irrigation systems.
Also, around the venues Australian native trees and shrubs, chosen not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their drought resistant qualities, have been planted and mulched to further reduce water needs.
Most important has been the development of a dual water system at Sydney Olympic Park which supplies potable (i.e. drinkable) water for human consumption from the mains water supply through one set of pipes, and also supplies recycled storm water and sewage effluent for toilet flushing and irrigation through a parallel system of pipes. Sewage is first treated in an on-site wastewater reclamation plant, then a water treatment plant before being reused. Storm water is caught in runoffs designed to imitate the natural water cycles of creeks and wetlands, stored on-site, then treated in the water treatment plant before use.
Wherever feasible, existing buildings are being reused and refitted for the Sydney Games. Approximately one-third of all sporting competitions, some nine out of 28, will be held in already existent venues — reducing the environmental impact by reducing the need for new construction. This philosophy also extends to the housing of Games organising and support staff — the current SOCOG Headquarters once housed a newspaper empire and the Media Village was an old hospital.
Wherever possible, recycled material has been incorporated into construction. For example 220,000 cubic metres of concrete and rubble from the demolished Homebush abattoir has been reused at the Homebush Bay site, while a further 40,000 cubic metres of earth excavated during construction has been reused for the creation of grassed or landscaped embankments at the Athletic Centre. During the construction of the new Sydney Showground (where indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball. handball and rhythmic gymnastics will be played during the Games), 94.67 per cent of all waste was recycled.
This reuse and recycle philosophy extends to the Olympic Overlay, which is the term used to describe the additional facilities and modifications organisers need to ready venues for the Games times crowds. Typically Overlay includes such things as additional seating, toilets, relocatable buildings, tents and marquees, fencing, staging for ceremonies and indoor sports, and additional building services such as power supply, lighting and air-conditioning. As Overlay is essentially a set of temporary requirements, a major objective of Sydney's procurement strategy is to have these component sponsored, hired or leased, rather than building them from scratch. This way, once the Games are finished, there will be no need for bulldozers to come in and raze the site, leaving tonnes of refuse, and most of the temporary facilities can be used again.
Written by: Sydney Olympics
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