First zero emissions Winter Olympic Games kicks off in South Korea

The 23rd Winter Olympic games will be one of the most sustainable events in the tournament’s history. The games, taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea, has sustainable thinking at its heart with a goal of becoming the first zero-emissions event in its history.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has taken responsibility of greenhouse gas emission (GHGs) during the 2018 Winter Games preparation and operation phases. To this end POCOG has planned to reduce emitted GHGs from all the phases of the Games through various reduction measures, while the rest of GHGs will be offset through voluntary activities.

Green transport

Participants are not allowed to park their own cars at the venues, but access the venues using public means of transport.

On the other hand, operational staff will use electric cars and hydrogen powered cars during the Games-time. To this end, POCOG signed an agreement with the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). Within the framework KEPCO has provided 150 electric vehicles and 24 EV charging stations to be used during the Games-time. Furthermore, POCOG secured 15 hydrogen vehicles and prepared a plan for utilising them in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Gangwon Province and Hyundai Motor Company. All vehicles will continue to be used by KEPCO after the Games; moreover, the quick charging stations installed in the Host City are expected to increase the supply of eco-friendly vehicles in the local communities.

Green building construction

All six stadiums have been awarded with green-building and building energy efficiency certifications. While minimising GHG emissions, the snow competition venues will be conserved as a sustainable legacy of the local community.

Using renewable energy

Independent and clean energy sources for the six new Olympic venues not only bring a positive impact to the environment but also maximise the energy efficiency required for the maintenance and management of the buildings. The competition venues that have been newly constructed accommodate solar and geothermal generation facilities. Solar power is used to generate electricity and geothermal heating supply heated water. Renewable energy accounts for 12% of the total energy consumption for each venue, which is a significant contribution to the energy cost savings in venue operations.

For the Gangneung Ice Arena and the Kwandong Hockey Centre, the renewable energy facilities were already part of their initial designs. Construction of these facilities was completed in November 2016.

Moreover, wind power capacity currently in operation in the Host Province will meet more than 100% of energy needs, The total generation capacity reachs 203 MW, exceeding the required capacity of 194 MW by 104%.

Finally organisers have ensured that a forest area twice the size of the event has been restored, and the Olympic Park has been built on the site of an old landfill, covering 86,696 square meters.

An index of its performance towards the Sustainable Development Goals is publicly available