Beijing’s Olympic Village Wins Leed Gold Status

Beijing’s Olympic Village Wins Leed Gold Status

The Olympic Village, temporary home to more than 16,000 athletes at the international games in Beijing, has been awarded LEED Gold status.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) said yesterday that the development is one of only eight to attain certification under the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs (LEED) for Neighborhood Development. The project is first in China to receive LEED certification.

The Olympic Village stretches over 160 acres to form the largest noncompetitive venue at the games. Its 42 six- and nine-story residential buildings are 50 percent more energy efficient than similar buildings in Beijing, according to the U.S. Embassy. In addition to the housing currently used by athletes, their team officials and delegations, there are seven community centers, three commercial and retail center buildings, a health center, library, gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and a kindergarten.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) worked closely with Olympic Village developer Guo Ao Development Company to provide technical assistance, the U.S. Embassy said.  After the games, the Guo Ao Investment Company will convert the village into a tourism and residential area, which is expected to be available to Beijing residents in early 2009.

Environmental Market Solutions, Inc. (EMSI), an environmental and green building consulting firm, also worked extensively with the project. EMSI is part of Carrier Corp., a unit of United Technologies Corp.

"The project achieved significant energy savings by reducing energy consumption in all of the village buildings by at least 20 percent (compared to the U.S. industry standard)," EMSI President Ken Langer said in a statement. "We incorporated into the design high efficiency heating and cooling systems, higher levels of insulation, and energy efficient windows."

Other green features of the development include use of solar photovoltaic power and solar thermal to provide lighting and hot water for the community. Drought-resistant native plants make up more than 90 percent of the landscaping, and irrigation systems in the complex use collected rainwater. Parks and green open space reduce stormwater runoff throughout the development, and vegetated green roofs on more than 60 percent of the rooftops also capture runoff from storms.  To connect the communities within the development, a pedestrian and bicycle network threads through the Olympic Village, where 95 percent of the vehicle parking lies underground.

The development, its designers, consultants and other key figures were honored last Wednesday in Beijing for attaining the LEED Gold designation.