The millions of people converging upon London for this year's Summer Olympic Games will test the United Kingdom's pledge to make its event the most energy efficient one to date. To this end, the government has deployed numerous technologies and programs that Games officials say will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 58 percent.
At the heart of the effort is the Olympic Park, a sprawling complex that will play host to the major events of the Games. The centerpiece of this area is the Olympic Stadium, which, according to the Alliance to Save Energy, a green power advocacy group, was constructed out of recycled materials including discarded waste pipes and granite blocks. The official Games website reports that nearly 800,000 tons of dirt were removed during the construction and reused elsewhere in the Park.
The Velodrome, a facility that will house the bicycle events, utilizes windows rather than electric fixtures to provide lighting during the daytime and a natural ventilation system in place of air conditioning units to keep things cool, further reducing the environmental impact.
Another initiative for the Games is the Kinetic Sidewalk, a temporary crossing placed at the West Ham train station for Games spectators to easily access transit heading towards the festivities. The surface of the walkway is made of a special power-absorbing material that captures the energy of passing footsteps, and is expected to create 21 kilowatt hours of power over the course of the Olympics. Despite the relatively small amount of electricity generated, it helps to showcase day-to-day efforts to foster green power sources.
Other efforts to make this the greenest Olympics yet include utilizing existing spaces around London to reduce construction needs, cutting down on traffic in the area to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and serving organically-grown food products in the Park.