Olympic venues as ‘green’ building models

July 18th, 2008 - 9:18 am ICT by IANS  

By Quan Xiaoshu
Beijing, July 18 (Xinhua) Committed to “green” Olympics, China has built the key venues of the Games not only as architectural showpieces but also as model energy-efficient and environment-friendly structures. The National Stadium, known as the “Bird’s Nest” after its unique latticework of interwoven steel, is considered a template for water conservation, with 70 percent of its supply coming from recycled water. “The recycled water will be used to wash the racetrack and water the plants around the venue,” said Li Jiulin, chief engineer of the stadium construction.

Li noted that 23 percent of the recycled water would be harvested from rain, and the rest, recycled from industrial wastewater and urban sewage.

“Through the system, rainwater that falls on the stadium’s roof, playing field and more than 20,000 square metres of surrounding area will be collected and channelled to a pond measuring 12,000 cubic metres.

“The water will then go through three screens of filtration — quartz sand filtration, micro filtration and ultra filtration, to clear harmful elements,” Li said.

Beside the Bird’s Nest, the National Aquatics Centre, or the “Water Cube,” has also been designed as an energy-saving building.

“Special measures have been taken to reduce water consumption and sewage discharge,” said Sun Hongzhuang, project manager with the China Construction and Development Co., builder of the structure.

It is able to collect 10 million litres of rainwater, 70 million litres of bath water and 60 million litres of wastewater from swimming pool annually to wash the ground, flush toilets, supplement the water supply for the cooling tower and water the plants around the venue, Sun said.

Its blue bubbling translucent exterior, also a part of the Water Cube’s environmental design, will allow the sunlight to be harnessed to heat the swimming pool and save thermal loss.

Apart from cutting energy consumption, some Games venues are also trying new energy supply systems, which environmentalists hope is not just a practice of a green Olympics, but also a model for the entire country exploring ways of sustainable development.

A set of solar power generators with a capacity of 100 kw has been installed in the National Stadium’s roof and south glass wall to supply power for its underground parking lot, Li said.

After the Olympics, the solar power produced by the stadium will be merged into the city’s power grid to provide energy to local families if there are no sport events there.

In the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium, which will host the judo and taekwondo matches, 148 light conductors, each eight metres long, will help to transmit 80 percent of the sunlight into the gym, enough for the athletes’ training or physical education classes.

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