2010 Winter Olympics Aims for Sustainability

New 6,000-seat venue strives to be among world's greenest curling rinks.

The opening of the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre, which recent opened in February, completes the sports venue inventory for the city's 2010 Winter Games. The center, expected to be the setting for curling and wheelchair curling events, is a 100,000-sf, 6,000-seat facility and is being touted as one of the world's greenest curling rinks.

Aiming for the gold standard in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the eco-friendly structure uses captured rainwater to flush toilets, which, along with the showers and sinks, use low-flow water systems, cutting water use by up to 30 percent. A high-performance envelope insulates the building to maintain ice-sheet-perfect temperatures, while a mix of electricity, natural gas, and solar energy power the site. Excess heat from ice-making is channeled to warm the rest of the building and the adjacent aquatic center.

Just south of downtown Vancouver, in the Riley-Hillcrest neighborhood, the Vancouver Olympic/Paralympic Centre is on one of the highest points of land in the city, with views of the North Shore mountains and the city center. Surrounded by green space, the sweeping interiors are graced with a blend of traditional and contemporary works by Canadian First Nations, Inuit, and Metis artists.

Post-Games, the site will be used as a multipurpose community recreation center, offering ice hockey and curling rinks, as well as a gym, library, and adjacent aquatic center (which was built at the same time as the center, for construction efficiency). The center recently hosted the World Wheelchair Curling Championships in February, followed by the World Junior Curling Championships in March.

Originally published March 23, 2009