We’re seeing a lot of gold at this year’s Olympics, but behind the scenes, it’s all green. From environmentally responsible energy to recyclable venues, the London 2012 Olympics could be one of the most eco-friendly games yet. Two areas stand out when talking about sustainability and the Olympics, transportation and architecture, and here’s a few ways London is keeping them green:



BMW is providing two-hundred zero-emission electric cars comprised of 160 ActiveE First Drive and 40 Mini Cooper Mini Es (right). GE has placed 120 of their DuraStation EV chargers throughout the Olympic Village to keep the cars juiced and ready to go.

An even cuter “mini-er” Mini Cooper (right) is being used to transport athletic gear. According to Edmunds Inside Line, the radio-controlled electric vehicles are small enough to carry equipment like a single discus or two javelins, which can be accessed through a sunroof. Charging up in about 80 minutes, the cars can carry up to 18 pounds and have a range of around 109 yards.


All of the structures built for the London 2012 Olympics were done so with environmental sustainability and energy consumption in mind. Both the Velodrome (above), home of indoor cycling, and the Copperbox, venue for handball and badminton, collect rainwater from their sloped roofs for indoor plumbing usage, which cuts water consumption by 40 percent annually. Using a natural ventilation system, outdoor air is used to keep the more than 6,000 visitors to the Velodrome cool — no A/C needed.

Two buildings in Olympic Park won’t last long after the closing ceremonies — and that’s ok. The Water Polo Arena (right) and the Basketball arena will be torn down immediately after the Olympics are over. Both structures were built with PVC fabric that’s highly recyclable and will be reused for other construction projects. The wings of the exterior of the Aquatic Center will also be removed and the main structure will be used for other London community events. 

So, whether you’re watching at home or from the stands, remember that not only are these games making athletic history, they are also making environmental history. 

Credits: Edmund Sumner/View/Corbis (top); BMW North America (middle); London 2012 (bottom)