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January 12, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Olympics Shines with Sustainability Stars Program



In just over a month from now athletes, cheered on by spectators and supported and assisted by their trainers and family will begin competing for medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, being held in Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

There is another set of winners from the Games that are already being honored: Games partners, sponsors and organizer VANOC for initiatives that demonstrate positive and measurable social, economic and environmental impacts through the Vancouver 2010 Sustainability Stars program. This showcase will demonstrate to other parts of the world innovations and methods that could help them achieve an improved quality of life while making a difference in the Vancouver area.

To be awarded a Sustainability Star an innovation must, says VANOC: demonstrate two or more sustainability features (social, economic and/or environmental); be directly linked to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games; and produce a measurable outcome. It must also be new to the Vancouver 2010 Games region or the Games in general or significantly scaled up through the Vancouver 2010 Games.

To date some 61 Sustainability Stars have been awarded. One of them, reported TMCnet, has gone to Atos Origin, which helps VANOC achieve its carbon reduction goals by selecting computers which use 50 per cent less electricity than previous models. It also provides journalists with remote access to onsite information and broadcasters with remote commentator information in real time as well as deploys an online volunteer portal, all of which avoids emissions-generating travel.

Here are other key green Sustainability Stars recipients:

--Avaya (formerly Nortel) and Bell Canada (News - Alert) for the Nortel’s IP network equipment that Bell Canada is deploying for the 2010 Winter Games. Avaya (News - Alert) inherited Nortel’s sponsorship when it purchased the firm’s enterprise division. The VANOC network will be the first ever Games all-IP converged network, one involving less equipment to deliver equivalent or superior performance than previous ones. Avaya/Nortel (News - Alert) also employs a best-practice e-waste program, which ensures that the majority of equipment used during the Games will be reused, with less than two per cent entering conventional waste disposal streams.

--Bell Canada also put in 285 km (171 miles) of fiber-optics for the Games, in and between Vancouver and Whistler which has exceeded industry standards (Whistler, a well-known resort community, is home to many key Games competitions). Bell’s work has, says, VANOC ensured a low environmental impact, promoting energy efficiency, protecting biodiversity and providing a legacy to surrounding communities. Aboriginal consultation has also been a key part of infrastructure development. Bell Canada also put together and hosts the Vancouver 2010 web portal.

--The BC Hydrogen Highway, an intra-government industry initiative showcasing hydrogen and fuel-cell technology such as fuel-cell vehicles, fueling stations and demonstration site
 
--Canadian Pacific for using 20 GE Evolution(R) Series locomotives to move Games equipment and goods by train. These locomotives emit 42 per cent fewer nitrogen oxides, and 67 per cent less particulate matter, than existing locomotives. They are equipped with automatic engine start/stop devices to help reduce carbon emissions. The locomotives will make freight rail even greener. On average, each train reduces the associated emissions of approximately 280 trucks from highways. They also consume far less greenspace to move the same amount of goods
 
--Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia, City of Vancouver and Vancouver Airport Authority for the Canada Line rapid transit. The Canada Line, which opened Aug.17, 2009 links downtown Vancouver with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and City of Richmond. Frequent connecting TransLink buses bring passengers to fast-growing outlying Metro Vancouver communities and to the principal ferry terminal for Vancouver Island, where the province’s capital, Victoria, is located

--A 60-day demonstration streetcar project by the City of Vancouver and Bombardier that will connect Granville Island and the new Canada Line Olympic Village Station. The Olympic Line will be free to all riders during the Games

--The demonstration is an opportunity, says the award, to showcase the City of Vancouver’s vision for a future downtown streetcar network: to inform the public and visitors and to generate interest and excitement from the business community and other future partners. The Canada Line/streetcar is an option say local residents to driving to reaching Granville Island: a onetime industrial site that has grown into a very popular marketplace, workshop locale and entertainment venue

--Government of Canada for the 2010 Green Toolkit. The toolkit is an online resource for greening federal government operations on the West Coast and to leverage the 2010 Winter Games to accelerate them at Games time and beyond. It includes: existing green policies, green guides and best practices, guidance on how to promote sustainability in the workplace and how to implement these changes. Topics include: green procurement, zero waste, green meetings and green commuting. The toolkit has already been used by 45 federal departments and is available to 260,000 federal employees in both English and French

--Millennium Water, which developed the Olympic and Paralympic Village Vancouver, and is aiming to certify them under the new LEED for Neighbourhood Development pilot to LEED Gold certification. Situated in a restored former industrial site on False Creek in downtown Vancouver, the Village will be the first phase of a model sustainable community known as Southeast False Creek. This project will transform a former brownfield site into a showcase of sustainable living

--Also winning a related Sustainability Star is The City of Vancouver and Millennium Water for the highest performing building at the Olympic and Paralympic Village, the Net Zero Building, a 64-unit affordable housing block which will be made available to seniors after the 2010 Winter Games. On an annual basis, the building produces as much energy as it consumes through a significant reduction of energy loads coupled with an offsetting program that relies on renewable energy technologies and advanced energy systems

--Purolator for its Quicksider, a battery-operated electric delivery vehicle: a first-of-its-kind for Canada’s courier industry. The vehicle will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 99 per cent compared to a conventional curbside delivery vehicle. Through the Games period, Purolator will be tracking Quicksider-related measureable outcomes, as far as kilometres driven and greenhouse gas emissions saved

--Ricoh for its specialized applications for output devices (print, fax and copy) provides the economic and environmental benefits of reducing paper and energy consumption. These applications are new to the Games, have involved unique partners such as PrintAudit and DigitalStorefront, and will be used at an unprecedented scale during the 2010 Winter Games
 

Brendan B. Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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