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The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is not only looking to further the athletic accomplishments but make sustainable environmental changes to the Winter Games. Many commentators are reporting whispers that if the United States wins the 2022 bid there will be major steps toward a sustainable and green powered 2022 Olympic games.  Andrew Liveris photo: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/11/1106_ceos_on_election/image/andrew_liveris.jpgThis began with naming Andrew Liveris and Dow Chemical the worldwide partner in the Olympics for the next decade.

During the last Winter Olympic Games (the Vancouver 2010 games), the United States held the most medals, with 9 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze. With dominance in the areas of snowboarding, Nordic combined and skiing, it only makes since that the United States is looking to capture the 2022 bid.  With areas like Denver and Reno-Tahoe looking to host, the USOC is looking to make process with the International Olympic Committee in hopes of bring great changes to this world celebration.  

With the top skiers, snowboarders and speed skaters, the United States is looking to continue its dominance of the Winter Games by bringing it home.  Gold medal wins including show stopping ones by snowboarder Shaun White (one of the most recognizable Olympic athletes) and Shani Davis, not only proves that the U.S. is a highly mentionable Winter Games contender, but quickly become a leader over the gold medal winners, Canada and Germany.

USOC Chairman, Larry Probst first is hoping to rebuild relationships with their international counterparts before releasing all information concerning the bid. What we do know is that there is a lot of talk about environmental changes, with this the United States could put themselves in high bid mentions with what they're looking to add to the 2022 Winter Olympics.  

Why are these changes such a big deal?  Because as fantastic and unifying as the Olympics are, it's quite a carbon-rich event. It has been estimated that over 2/3 of the carbon emissions from the event is a result of some of the 1.5+ million attendees traveling (mostly via airplane) to and from the event.

The Summer Games of 2008, held in Beijing, made great efforts to showcase conservation practices and sustainable energy sources, USOC members are looking to do more by basing off of the services used in Beijing. Exactly what environmentally friendly services did the Olympic facilities feature?

  • Water Conservation - Waste water collected from the Qinghe sewage treatment plant was filtered and used for the various heating and cooling needs throughout the Olympics site, yielding a 60% savings in electricity. Rainwater was collected from around the grounds, collecting over 75,000 gallons by using water permeable bricks, pipes and wells installed on roofs, roads and green areas.
  • Solar power - Used to light lawns, courtyards and streets at several venues, including the Olympic Village. A 130 KW photovoltaic system illuminated The National Stadium, where events such as athletics and football were held.
  • Natural Light - Remember the famous 'Water Cube' where the aquatic events were held? The walls of the National Aquatics Centre provided natural light, and for the interior of the building, specially designed 'beam-pipes' funneled sunlight into corridors, toilets and car parks at venues, including the Olympic Green.
  • Recycling - The 2008 Olympic hosts aimed for a 50 per cent recycling of waste including paper, metals and plastics at venues. A modest expectation, considering that a test run carried out during the 11th World Softball Championships held in 2007, achieved a nearly 90 per cent recycling rate.

By naming DOW the official sponsor of the Olympics, the IOC is showing just how serious they are with their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. The vision that was a part of the sustainability of the games in Beijing has progressed to include dozens of other products which will help reduce waste and promote conservation. You can expect these products to appear at the coming events over the next decade and be a part of the USOC recommendations.

Co-written by Nerissa Barry and Daniel Fielding