London 2012 Games

Learning from “the most sustainable games ever” by Shaun McCarthy

The Olympic Village was constructed to the highest sustainability standards with unprecedented levels of energy and water efficiency. The use of combined cooling, heat and power and black water recycling ensured that energy was both conserved and supplied from more sustainable sources.

However, the Commission also admittedly pointed out that there were “missed opportunities”, especially in their energy plans. This is in part due to LOCOG’s slow development of a comprehensive energy plan. Investigations were also made into the potential to use biofuel as an alternative and/or a complementary solution to diesel particulate filters. Hadleigh Farm and Eton Dorney were the venues identified that could have been fuelled fully by biodiesel. Unfortunately the proposal for biofuel was not taken forward due to the level of Games security required for the provision of all liquids entering venues in the time available.

A document on the lessons learned from planning and staging the London 2012 Games put most blame on LOCOG’s very late response in developing an energy conservation plan and in recruiting people with responsibility. The people eventually recruited made a difference and the target 20% energy efficiency improvements are thought to have eventually been exceeded. An important learning point is that for an event of such a scale, there is no such thing as planning too early when it comes to building relationships with venue teams and influence their plans.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles and innovative demonstration projects using river transport all featured in the comprehensive plan to deliver a vast range of goods more efficiently and sustainably.