The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the public body responsible for building the permanent venues and infrastructure for London 2012, engaged with its supply chain to develop more sustainable approaches to construction. The ODA set challenging sustainability targets for all projects, outlined in a Sustainable Development Strategy finalised five years before the Games.
In the case of concrete, a major contributor to CO2 emissions, suppliers were required to meet or exceed the following standards:
- Construction materials (by value) be comprised of at least 20 percent recycled content
- 25 percent of aggregate used will be recycled
- 50 percent of materials (by weight) be transported to the site by sustainable means i.e. water or rail
- Use energy-efficient, low-emissions vehicles on-site.
The ODA worked with the concrete supplier to develop sustainable concrete mixes with greater use of recycled and secondary aggregate, resulting in savings of approximately 30,000 tonnes (24 per cent) of embodied carbon and the elimination of over 70,000 road vehicle movements. The reduction of concrete use through efficient design led to a further savings of 20 000 tonnes of embodied carbon.
Centralised procurement, early supply chain integration and extensive testing were key in reducing the overall environmental impact. A strong understanding of needs at the early design stage enabled the production of clear specifications and allowed designers and contractors to take a proactive approach to reach targets.
Source: Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games The Legacy: Sustainable Procurement for Construction Projects, 2013; Henson, K. The procurement and use of sustainable concrete on the Olympic Park, 2011.