Credit: Flickr / Patrick Doheny

Vancouver's Olympic Village achieves LEED Platinum certification, making it North America's greenest neighbourhood

What was once an industrial brownfield is now the city’s crowning jewel.

Today, Vancouver became home to the greenest, most energy-efficient and sustainable neighbourhood in North America—and possibly the world—as the Olympic Village was certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"The LEED Platinum certification for the 2010 Olympic Village and Southeast False Creek is the highest ever for a neighbourhood this size," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "Southeast False Creek is only the second neighbourhood in the world to receive this level of certification.”

The Olympic Village received high marks for its proximity to downtown, mixed-use design, affordable housing units, habitat restoration and a host of sustainable integrated design features, such as rainwater harvesting, sewer heat recovery, green roofs, use of recycled and low-VOC materials for building interiors as well as for maximizing the site’s Western orientation.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a North America-only third-party sustainable building certification program recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health, including energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable site development, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Heated and cooled by renewable energy, the Olympic Village development’s most sustainable building is the Net-Zero Building, which will become affordable housing for seniors after the Games. It produces as much energy as is consumed through efficiencies in design as well as mechanisms for capturing and storing solar and waste heat.

The entire Olympic Village complex includes 1,100 residential units (including 730 market condos, 120 market rental apartments and 250 proposed affordable rental apartments), restaurants, a grocery store, community centre and daycare, plus 11 acres of redeveloped park and waterfront.

“Achieving LEED Platinum is a big feather in our cap, as we move towards our goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020,” said the mayor, who sees the designation as one more reason for tooting Vancouver’s green horn—something he’ll continue to do throughout the Games while courting visiting business leaders in an attempt to build the city’s cleantech industry through "green capital."

“Being the greenest development in the world right now should … demonstrate to the rest of the world that we mean business here when it comes to the green economy,” Robertson said in a promotional video posted to the City of Vancouver's YouTube channel today following the announcement of the LEED Platinum certification.