Olympic Village the crown jewel in green legacy
Vancouver is promising the greenest Olympic Games ever, and perhaps the crown jewel of that green legacy is the athletes village being built in southeast False Creek.
Bob Rennie, the man selling the Millennium condos after the Games are over, calls it the most sustainable community in the world.
"Here you've got the fully-loaded Rolls Royce," he told CTV News. "We're looking for a 30 to 50 percent savings in energy costs."
In each condo unit, residents will be able to monitor how much energy and water they consume everyday.
The units are designed to use 50 percent less water than regular homes. One way they're achieving that is using rainwater to flush toilets.
And the main source of heat for all the buildings in the village will be sewage -- a first in North America.
"I think it's just fantastic," said Chris Baber, neighbourhood utility manager for the City of Vancouver. "We're taking energy that would typically be wasted down the drain and we're recycling that heat back to the community."
Baber says the system has been working well in Norway for years.
It should be up and running in the southeast False Creek area in early December. Natural gas will be used as a backup.
Meanwhile, the village's community centre is aiming for Platinum-status certification from the Canada Green Building Council.
The council oversees a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) green building rating system.
Few buildings in North America have achieved Platinum status.
The LEED rating system "encourages natural materials, not using paints," and that philosophy was incorporated into the building of the community centre, said Ian Smith, the city's manager of development for the Olympic village.
"It encourages natural wood materials like bamboo, ... You're talking about a polished concrete floor rather than something with glues or tiles or anything else added to it. A lot of it is just simplicity."
Smith said it has been an emotional journey.
"For me, this is really the end of my career. To help plan it and to see it built is a real feeling of accomplishment," he said.
But what about the cost for living so green?
A 1,700-square-foot suite on the 9th floor is going to be listed for $2 million, Rennie said.
The green features add about 10 percent to the cost, he said.
Rennie said he plans to check back with owners in the future to see which green ideas really work.
In the meantime, those who drive across the Cambie Street bridge can do their own monitoring -- lights on smoke stacks from the local energy utility will change colour based on how much energy is being used.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee
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