The Olympic Park: showcasing sustainable construction
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Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chairman Sir John Armitt has published London 2012 – a global showcase for UK plc, a report on the construction of the Olympic Park, describing it as “a superb advertisement for UK plc” and highlighting the new approaches to sustainability successfully adopted for construction of the “greenest Games ever”.
The report, commissioned by the Government, was compiled after consulting with over 250 businesses who worked on the Olympic Park. They were about the impact of working on London 2012, including impacts on their companies, staff, finances, reputation and future prospects.
With sustainability and legacy among the six priority themes underlying the Olympic Park’s construction and infrastructure, the project took time from the start to ensure long-term use and sustainability. The report recommends that the Government adopt the principles of the ODA’s procurement and project management approach, including the “balanced scorecard” through which sustainability was built into procurement decisions, alongside the traditional criteria of cost, time and quality.
Use of the “balanced scorecard” was found to save money. For example the decision to treat heavily contaminated soil on site, rather than send it to landfill, saved £68m, while the re-use of gas pipes in the Olympic Stadium and the lightweight roof of the Velodrome also contributed significant cost savings.
Experience in sustainable construction
The report also highlights the opportunity provided for British companies to gain “precious experience that they can use to win business at home and abroad”. To achieve the “greenest Games ever” the ODA drew on the latest knowledge to construct low carbon buildings, harvest rainwater, generate renewable energy, recycle building materials, minimise waste, clean contaminated soil and waterways and ensure that every built structure integrated with its natural environment.
The valuable lessons learned in environmental sustainability and other areas have been made available through the Learning Legacy website, passing on the experience of the ODA for the benefit of those undertaking future construction projects. This is a valuable resource that is proving popular with British companies and a wider international audience, increasing awareness of British business and its skills. The report recommends that the Learning Legacy website be continued after the Games and broadened to include other successful projects.
Sustainability achievements included cleaning two million tonnes of contaminated soil and reclaiming 98 per cent of demolition material for reuse and recycling on site. The Energy Centre contributed to the ODA significantly exceeding a 50 per cent overall carbon reduction target, alongside photovoltaic cells and a retro-fit scheme in surrounding boroughs.
The Olympic Stadium was built with a third of the steel of Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ and the Olympic Village comprises the UK’s largest grouping of Code 4 sustainable homes, while the Copper Box is the first UK sports venue to be naturally lit – 88 rooftop light pipes will achieve annual energy savings of up to 40 per cent.
- Armitt report hails construction of Olympic Park a superb advertisement for UK: DCMS news story and link to download report
- Learning Legacy: sharing the knowledge and the lessons learned from the construction of the Olympic Park
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