Executive Summary

This report aims at analyzing sustainability in London Olympics and how the games adhered to the promise of having the most environmental sustainable games ever. In order to grasp the actual picture of the games and their conditions, some of the aspects have been examined clearly ranging from the infrastructure at the Olympics to the diet that was available during the event. Several sources have been quoted including news sources to clearly explain the position and the conditions that were available and also to critically explain how the sustainable the plans were after the end of Olympics and Paralympics. The paper finds that London Olympics was one of the most successful games in terms of sustainability as it witnessed minimal pollution, as opposed to the games of the past.


Hosting Olympics is one of the greatest things in sports that put the country and especially the host city on the spotlight. This is because of major infrastructure developments that come with hosting Olympics and also environmental, social and economic legacies that it leaves to the host city. However, Olympics is one of the most expensive projects that a country undertakes; the amount used in the preparation for the events cannot be recovered during the gaming events but instead, it is the activities that happen after the games that determine whether hosting the Olympics was worthwhile. One of the major Olympics themes is sustainability for the sporting world. In a bid to host the Olympics the host country must pledge to hold an event that promote a sustainable environment from the procurement level to the operation of the sites, this is one of the strategies to reduce pollution in the environment and which also in the long last also reduces cost.

It is for these reasons that environmental programs to improve on air quality and address the air change are held all through the Olympics. These campaigns help an economy both directly and indirectly including promoting public health and planting of trees. Strategic plans involving the use of land and real estate development are also useful in economic and environmental sustainability because any large scale development in the surrounding area will remain for a significant amount of time even after the Olympics are over. It has been established that increased awareness on environmental issues in the host countries is a powerful legacy to the Olympic Games. Countries hosting the Olympics are encouraged to maintain their environment, this include establishing energy conservation measures and establishing water storage facilities. Countries are urged to devise long term environment conservation to ensure that the conservation remains even after the end of Olympics.

Sustainability is the activities that can be sustained indefinitely. The term is appropriately used to environmental concerns as the solution to nonrenewable energy sources and non-recyclable products that pollute the environment that lead to ecological dead end.

London experienced a lot of developments during the Olympic period. The event earned a green medal from its effort to conserve the environment. The venues were one of the most sustainable places in U.K with natural ventilation and also had a design that needed very little amount of power for lighting. The roof also collected rainwater which was used in activities going on in the venues and around, reducing the water usage by more than 70%.

A lot of efforts was put make sure the event was environmental friendly both in the stadium and outside, although they did not have artificial source of power, they organized cars that were electrical powered and others with clean diesel. The organizer ensured there was good management of waste by encouraging food vendors to use decomposable material to wrap and also had coca cola collecting and recycling plastic bottles that were used during the event.

One of the major problems in Olympics 2012 was the huge amount of concrete that was required. Concrete has high impact on the environment and hence making sure it was recycled was essential. The concrete to be used had to pass a lot of trials and tests to ensure that the overall environmental impact was reduced. The construction material that was used was also scrutinized and quality of the same was assured to support environmental sustainability. This was ensured by checking that the construction material comprised at least 20 percent in value of the recycled material, 25 percent of the aggregate to be used was to be recycled, 50 per cent of the construction material was to be transported by either water or rail and also energy-efficient, low emission vehicles were used on the site.

Infrastructure Sustainability

The major sustainability plan that the London Olympics brought out was infrastructure sustainability. The athletes’ quarters that were used during Olympics had to be transformed into residential homes after the Olympics were over. This was to ensure that the buildings were not to remain idle and also they had to find occupants of the buildings in the most environmental friendly way. One method of assuring sustainability was by developing London 2012 Copper Box that was formerly known as the Handball Arena, this was made with recycled copper and had a natural, long-lasting insulation to help meet energy efficiency and at the same time offering protection for waterproofing layers.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park used the latest green environmental friendly technology which is low in carbon concentration that was one of the major aims of the event to ensure low carbon emission and concentration. The power needed on many parts of the park was provided by the Energy Centre, who used the latest suitable technology with low tolerance to emission of carbon. Also, the park had water recycling unit to recycle the water that has been used in the park for cleaning purposes and see it used on other parts of the park.

Another infrastructure sustainability program was to create walkable neighborhoods. This was to encourage cycling and walking. Cycling and walking do not involve the use of fuel and hence the better as it will, result, too, minimal or no carbon emitted into the atmosphere. This is also encouraged by the use of public vehicles instead of private cars. This helps reduce the number of cars in the road and subsequently, there will be less carbon pollution.

Fitness of the spectators was assured and also no cars were permitted to drive into the Olympic grounds as the grounds did not have parking lots. The only means of transport were by public transport with only park and ride sites outside the city where visitors packed their vehicles and boarded the buses.

The public transport was improved to accommodate the high number of spectators that were present for the games. To ensure environmental sustainability, there was the introduction of new trains that were cleaner, safer and easy to access. There was construction of new stations both on the ground and underground with underground stations comprised of new high-speed Javelin trains which were faster.

There was also a new energy walkway leading to the Olympic park which was lit day and night by footsteps of the million spectators who walked through the walk way. This was a renewable technology which was fitted with energy-harvesting floor tiles which collected energy as people walked over them and were used to lighting the pathway for 24 hours. This was a great step in conserving the energy requirement reducing power that was to be used by 40 per cent. This was a great way of conserving the energy by tapping one of the most unlikely sources of energy that was human walking.

Lighting was one of the major challenges besides transport to be used as the venues had to be lit both day and night. The venues were designed using innovative techniques that included light pipes. This was to provide artificial lighting into the stadium as there had to be reliable sources of energy to avoid any failure in power supply. The light pipes went a long way to conserve a lot of energy that could have been used to power light bulbs in case they decided to use electricity.

Use of brown park roof was also one of the ways to ensure sustainability. This is because there was a reduction in water consumption and also encourages new habitats. This created a new habitat for the aquatic animals that stay in the water. The roof was also made of recycled and reused building materials. This was to encourage on recycling of building materials that if left unattended for would pollute the environment if were left to lie idle on the surface.

A lot of money was invested on the walking and cycling routes. Walking and cycling are healthy and causes less pollution to the environment hence there was a 75 km stretch that led to the park which had improved paths, as more people cycled to the stadium while others walked, it led to less pollution of the environment while at the same time encouraging people of healthy living that is also a key to ensuring environmental sustainability.

Food vision was also a theme that was clearly brought out. It was noted that person’s diet influenced highly the environment conservation levels of individuals. By encouraging food safety and hygiene and choice for balanced diet and presence of diverse foods ensure that there is environmental management for an effective continued production of the food

The change of diet at McDonalds in east London was one of the greatest impacts that the games had on the people’s diet. McDonalds amended their menus and sourced for the game that was a great source of media attention as they adopted more diets such as vegetables to ensure that they also played a role in environment conservation.

With all the constructions that were available for preparing for the Olympics, waste management was an issue. There was fear that the constructions travel and consumption of fast foods would lead to great amounts of waste; however, there was a big recycling campaign to recycle all the waste that was available from all sectors especially construction and consumption.

Infrastructural sustainability was also evident from the conversion of east London that was more popular for its industries to a conducive place. Although industrialization is also encouraged, pollution to the environment is by all means against the main themes of sports. East London was previously known for its use for landfill and pollution, the Olympics sports were considered to have brought a revival to it with new investors and various stakeholders expressing their desire to invest there.

Many roads and bridges were constructed to help gain easier access to the park and a major landmark on this period was a 250 meters long and 40 meters wide pedestrian bridge was the main entrance to the Olympics park. The bridge not only did it provide a means of travel by foot, but it also acted as a roof to Zaha Hadid Acquatics Centre training pool. This was a major development to save on space and also because the water that was being used in the pool was rain harvested. This saved on water requirement through water harvesting on the roof of the park which helped conserve the environment

In a bid to conserve the environment, London 2012 energy center was set up to help in providing renewable energy target. Energy to be used is reduced as it involves a three megawatt biomass boiler which is highly effective compared to other sources of energy. It includes combined cooling heat and power plant which captures waste heat and was used to power the Olympic park. It provided heating and cooling to the park. The most desirable character of power plant is that it emits very minimal levels of carbon to the atmosphere. There is a connection connecting the existing the facility to a biomass boiler in another building that has become a visitor center after completion of the games.

Solar panels with photovoltaic cells were fitted on the roof of main press center. This helped generate renewable energy that was used both inside and outside the park. Solar power has no negative impacts on the environment as it does not emit any gas to the atmosphere. The solar panels will help save around 170 tons of carbon in every year together with cells that were fitted on the adjacent building that act as post games parking.

A large wind turbine was also installed on the Olympic park to supplement the source of renewable energy. This was to ensure that carbon emission to the atmosphere is highly reduced as part of ensuring a greener London.

The energy consumption plan received support from various sectors including schools. Many schools accepted to join in the movement by adopting energy consumption cut by including efficient lighting, upgraded heating systems and boiler optimization. This was to be installed mostly on school holidays with a package of measures specifically designed to accommodate each school energy level needs. This was a major boost to sustainability as schools are evidently the major sources of pollution to the environment due to high amount of energy they produce per day.

The games were one of their kinds being the first games ever to have measured its carbon emission levels and sticking to the initial intended levels. Besides saving the environment, adopting artificial and biodegradable sources of energy saves money.

The city must establish on the use of the buildings and infrastructure after Olympics that were built during Olympics or else the country might run into huge debts after the Olympics are over and end up damaging its reputation.

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