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Olympic Green

Our environment takes the podium


The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be the greenest in the history of the Olympics. VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) is determined to go green.

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be the greenest in the history of the Olympic organization. VANOC (Vancouver Olympic Committee) is determined to go green, offset carbon emissions, and get athletes and spectators alike onboard with many of its unique environmental initiatives.

Manage the carbon

For the Olympic Winter Games, energy is used for many things—to make snow, freeze ice sheets and sliding tracks, power equipment, heat buildings, and transport people and goods.

In order to help combat the carbon emissions caused by this enormous energy use, VANOC has developed a carbon management program to reduce and offset emissions.

Reduce, reduce, reduce

Olympic planners have focused on reducing carbon emissions at the source. Through such measures as transportation planning, green venue design and construction, and power planning, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be the greenest Olympics thus far.

Emission reduction in action

  • Venues in both Vancouver and Whistler have been designed as compact clusters—thus minimizing both energy use and travel requirements.
  • At the Whistler Sliding Centre, waste heat energy from the ice refrigeration system has been harvested and reused to heat other buildings on-site.
  • The Richmond Olympic Oval features a roof with a collection system for rainwater, some of which is being used to supplement toilet flushing in the building. The rest of the captured rainwater is stored in a pond and used to irrigate surrounding trees and vegetation.
  • Olympic venue power needs are being met without the usual portable, emission-causing generators. Instead the Games have partnered with BC Hydro to directly provide venues with clean hydroelectric power. A new automatic switching system will ensure a constant source of power should a single source become unavailable; portable generators will be unnecessary.
  • Expanded public transit is the new normal during the 2010 Winter Games. This will help to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

The skinny on offsetting

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games are the first Olympic Games to actively offset its carbon footprint from the initial planning stages until the close of operations.

Direct emissions (such as those caused by venue construction and the operation of VANOC’s transportation fleet) are being offset by the carbon management company Offsetters. Indirect emissions, such as those caused by travel to and from the Games by spectators and athletes, are still presenting a challenge for organizers to meet.

To help the Olympic Games meet its sustainability targets, those planning to attend could calculate their carbon footprint, make every attempt to reduce it, then purchase offsets for any remaining carbon emissions. Air travel to and from the Olympic city is expected to account for about 70 percent of the carbon footprint of the Games, so flyers should be sure to visit to learn more about reducing their personal environmental impact.

Olympic facts and figures

  • 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions will be produced from generators for the 2010 Games, as compared to previous Games.
  • 300,000 tonnes is the target emissions goal for the Games, based on a carbon emissions forecast created by the David Suzuki Foundation.
  • 704 tonnes of glass, plastic, paper and more was recycled by VANOC from its operations in Whistler and Vancouver in 2008 through to 2009.
  • 100 percent of Vancouver 2010 competition venues underwent environmental assessments to balance the needs of people and nature.


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