Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is the Athlete's Village the Greenest Neighbourhood in the Word?

The Olympic Athlete's village in Vancouver, also known as South East False Creek (SEFC), recently received LEED Platinum certification.  Politicians and the media were quick to call it the "greenest neighbourhood in the world."   But they offerred little evidence to support this cliam.

It is an important development that is certainly one of the greenest in the north America.  But in the world?  What about other neighbourhoods in the world?

Take for example Vauban, Freiburg, Germany.

Vauban is completely car-free. SEFC is not.  In fact, the development will increase motor traffic on a section of the Ontario bike route.

Vauban has 100 units that meet Passivhaus standards. SEFC has zero (Passihaus is a much higer standard than LEED).

All units in Vauban meet the low energy standard of 65 kWh/m2. I am not sure about SEFC but it is probably not that low.

Vauban has municipal composting of food waste. SEFC - not yet.

Vauban has an organic food coop. SEFC - you might find some in Urban Fare.

Vauban has a working urban farm. SE FC has planned for a "demonstration" community garden.

Vauban has an efficeint district heating system using bio-fuels. SE FC also has a highly efficient district heating system but still uses some natural gas (proably a higher ghg footprint).

Vanuban has onsite electrical generation (co-gen plants and photovoltaics). SE FC has none.

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