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Are you watching closely? Turns out, the new take on the gold, silver and bronze medals is more than just a funky new shape. In an effort to reduce electronic waste, each medal was made with a tiny bit of the more than 140,000 tons of e-waste that otherwise would have been sent to Canadian landfills. And that’s not the only eco-friendly thing about the 2010 winter games.
The Olympic Village in Vancouver has received LEED certification. According to The Vancouver Sun, “The athletes’ village in Vancouver’s southeast False Creek can now be called the greenest community in the North America – possibly the world – Mayor Gregor Robertson said Tuesday morning, as he announced the entire neighbourhood had received a certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.”
Yesterday, “Platinum certification was awarded to the $1-billion, 32-hectare South East False Creek neighbourhood development project based on a variety of factors including its proximity to the downtown core, affordable housing, green buildings and habitat restoration. The Olympic Village is the second development in the world to receive Platinum certification.”
Some of the examples of the design elements of the buildings throughout the athletes’ village are green roofs, cisterns to catch rainwater, passive solar design, upgraded insulation and windows as well as carpets and paint with low or no VOC.
When the announcement was made on Tuesday, USGBC chair Tim Cole called the athletes’ village a “remarkable example” of what is possible.
Lance Hosey, in his Op-Eco blog, looks over the sustainability claims by Olympic organizers that the Vancouver games are “the greenest games ever.” Supposedly, various forms of waste mitigation and energy efficiency will take down the games’ carbon output by 15 percent. But the land-grading methods used to make ski slopes at Whistler are among the most permanently destructive. And, of course, the organizers can’t help it if the air travel involved in bringing people to the games amounts to the annual belchings of 30,000 cars.