The Beijing Olympic Village won gold for its environmentally friendly design. The village, temporary home to more than sixteen-thousand athletes and team officials from around the world, was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Council is a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices.
The Council's LEED certification recognizes the highest level of performance in five key areas of human and environmental health. These are sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovative design. Ninety percent of the total building square footage within the Olympic Village is LEED certified.
In 2004, the U.S. Department of Energy and China's Ministry of Science and Technology developed a "Protocol for Cooperation in Clean Energy Technologies for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing." The Protocol resulted in plans to seek LEED certification for the Olympic Village.
The Department of Energy provided technical design and implementation assistance throughout the project's development, highlighting international cooperation to promote cleaner and more energy efficient technologies. The design uses solar photovoltaic power and solar thermal power to generate lighting and hot water for the community. High efficiency heating and cooling systems, on-site waste processing, and the visibility of open green space are some of the techniques that were used to win certification.
The project also reduces storm water runoff from the sites through an extensive network of parks and green open space. The Village has a 'near-zero energy building' known as the Micro-Energy Olympic Village Welcome Center. This center generates the bulk of its power, heating and cooling from renewable sources like solar cells and geothermal heat pumps.
After the 2008 Olympics, the Guo Ao Investment Company will convert the development into a tourism site and residential area, available to Beijing residents in early 2009.
Through public and private sector cooperation, the U.S., together with China and other international partners, is committed to sustainable, clean, and environmental safe development for all nations.