January 11, 2002 Features & Images » Feature Story

Feature 2 - Green games origins 

Lillehammer the first with Green Games

Page 4 of 4

Salt Lake City’s environmental campaign is more modest than Sydney’s or Lillehammer’s, although many facilities for the Salt Lake Games were already in place before the Games were awarded.

There are three primary components to Salt Lake’s environmental campaign: a zero net emissions goal, an urban forestry project and an urban heat island project called Cool Spaces 2002.

Cool Spaces is an attempt to reduce air temperature and pollution in the Salt Lake area. NASA conducted an overflight of the Salt Lake Valley and Olympic venues during the summer of 1998, photographing the area with infrared cameras. The effort produced a "heat map." Tree planting in the areas of greatest heat will attempt to reduce the air temperature and summer air pollution.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee says ground level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant, is produced partly by heat. Studies have shown that if urban tree cover can be increased by 5 per cent the production of ozone can be decreased by 10 per cent.

Plant it Green! is an Internet-based international program that advocates the importance of urban forestry and encourages tree planting. According to the Salt Lake 2002 Web site: "Anyone anywhere in the world can plant a tree in their community in honor of the Olympics and register it on www.saltlake2002.com. SLOC will provide each Olympic tree planter a certificate recognizing his or her role in enhancing the environment."

SLOC’s zero net emissions goal is based on an efficiency-for-emissions swap. The Cleaner and Greener program encourages energy users to reduce their energy consumption and, by doing so, counterbalance any emissions increase related to hosting the Games.

SLOC has partnered with the Leonardo Academy to calculate the total energy use and air emissions created by hosting the Games. "By gathering donations of emission reductions from sponsors, schools, and businesses, these Games could be the first in Olympic history with zero net air emissions," SLOC says.

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