London Olympics supplies testing ground for technologies
Lessons from the 2012 Games could help tackle future infrastructure, energy and healthcare challengesThe staging of the 2012 Olympic Games in London has helped inform, and at times expose, future challenges in areas such as transportation, energy, infrastructure and healthcare, a new report contends.
From the stadium to the street; what could we learn from staging the Games? says technology has been tested and lessons learned on the project to help develop an understanding of how to tackle issues on a global scale – how to build, move, power and look after a global population that is expected to reach nine billion by the middle of this century. The report, commissioned by GE which is a sponsor and sustainability partner of the Games, asks whether any of the technology deployed in London 2012 will play a part in tackling future challenges.
Mark Elborne, chief executive officer and president of GE UK, said: "By providing a highly concentrated environment – a microcosm of our cities and communities – [the London Games] allow us to test technology such as smart meters, clean energy and electric vehicles. The Games also help us understand the difficulties in deploying such technology and help inform how we might approach such challenges on a wider scale."
The report is based on interviews carried out by Future Poll which gauge public awareness and opinion in London and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, location of the 2016 Olympics.
Experts had no doubt of the value of the Games. Gareth Wynn, group director of EDF Energy's Olympic and Paralympic Programme said: "The Olympic Games creates a melting pot of companies to tackle technological challenges, not just in generating power, but also in using it efficiently."
The general public, however, had mixed views:
- 61 per cent of people surveyed in the UK and 76 per cent in Brazil see the Olympics as a force for good
- 25 per cent of Brazilians and 12 per cent of Britons believe the Olympic Games will leave behind technologies for wider society to inherit
- Over half of UK consumers questioned agreed that the cutting edge technologies on display at the Olympics are likely to trickle down to wider society once the games are finished, but the remainder disagree
- 17 per cent of people surveyed in Brazil and 5 per cent in the UK believe the Olympics will improve their country's green credentials or reduce environmental impact
- 12 per cent of Britons believe that after the Olympics east London will have buildings that showcase green technologies, while 8 per cent think it will have sustainable energy generators
- 34 per cent of people surveyed in the UK say the focus on creating a sustainable Olympics has motivated them to consider the greenness of their own behaviour.
Looking ahead to Rio
The report looks at the innovations and legacy of London 2012 and also explores the reach of Olympic thinking, highlighting some of the innovations of Brazil's 2016 Games. Rio's features include:
- BR$1 billion of government money has been allocated to hotel projects that can demonstrate strong environmental credentials. Attractive financing conditions are offered to projects featuring efficient use of water resources and sustainable waste management
- Energy to power the games will come from the Solar City Tower, a landmark structure studded with solar panels. In the daytime, sunlight will generate electricity directly. Excess energy gathered by the solar panels will pump seawater high into the tower, to power turbines for night-time energy supply.