Let the sustainability games begin
I am headed to Brazil today where I’ll have the honor of keynoting the Greenbuilding Brasil International Conference and Expo in São Paolo. There is a passion in Brazil for sustainability, one that is perhaps unparalleled throughout the world. Rio de Jainero was home to this year’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, and since the ‘90s has been an epicenter for global environmental policy and a meeting place and melting pot for the world’s most dedicated environmental advocates. The country’s natural beauty makes Brazil a model for modern conservation and sustainability efforts.
I can’t think of a better setting for the 2016 games, and Brazil has already laid out their sustainability framework. Their Olympic bid called for carbon neutral development based on green design, sustainable construction, and reforestation for carbon offsetting, along with innovative water conservation efforts, renewable energy use, and recycling and waste management. They are also using LEED guidelines and certification for new structures.
Some ideas from the bid, like the reforestation project, are already underway. Others are in very early development. Rio’s Olympic Park design competition winner, for example, focuses on environmental preservation, makes use of existing structures in the area, and envisions uses for at least 70 percent of the new infrastructure beyond the games. Other sustainability measures will be enacted in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil: 11 of the 12 World Cup stadiums are pursuing LEED, and financing for these venues was related to LEED certification.