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    IOC Nachhaltigkeit IOC/ADAM MORKWith the inauguration of its new headquarters in June 2020, the International Olympic Committee has underlined its commitment to sustainability. But as well as being one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, Olympic House is also an expression of unity and collaboration that reflects the IOC's vision for the future.

    Above image credit: IOC/ADAM MORK


    Marie Sallois, Director of Corporate and Sustainable Development Department at the IOC is responsible for the IOC Headquarters project, Olympic House. She is also in charge of the implementation of the IOC Sustainability Suategy and the IOC Legacy Strategic Approach, which are core to the Olympic Movement's strategic roadmap, Olympic Agenda 2020. Here Marie shares the vision for the Olympic House it's role in the IOC's commitment to sustainability. 

    Sustainability is at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and it is a key pillar of our strategic roadmap - Olympic Agenda 2020.

    As part of this commitment, the International Olympic Committee is working to ensure that sustainability principles are embedded across our three spheres of responsibility - as an organisation, as owner of the Olympic Games and as leader of the Olympic Movement.

    As an organisation, one of our biggest investments in this commitment so far has been the construction of Olympic House - the new IOC headquarters that were inaugurated in June this year. Designed to reflect the IOC's overarching mission to make the world a better place through sport, Olympic House is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world and an enduring testament to our ambition to become a role model in sustainability.

    It is important for us to set an example and to back up our words with action. That is what we have endeavoured to do with Olympic House by aiming for three of the most demanding sustainable building certifications.

    In awarding us LEED Platinum certification-the highest level of the international LEED green building programme-the US Green Building Council revealed that Olympic House had received the most points of any LEED v4-certified new construction project to date. We were also the first international headquarters, and just the second building overall, to obtain the highest level of the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard, and received the Swiss standard for energy-efficient buildings - Minergie P. Olympic House is the first building to receive all three of these certifications, and the first in Switzerland to achieve LEED v4 Platinum.

    Olympic House is more than just a building or another office block. It symbolises the principles of unity and peace that drive the Olympic Movement.

    Marie Sallois, Director of Corporate and Sustainable Development, IOC


    In our view, these ambitious achievements take our commitment to sustainability to a new level and recognise the pledge we made to focus on sustainable solutions throughout the Olympic House project - from the very beginning of the original architecture competition all the way through to construction, furnishing and building operations.

    This commitment included embracing the concept of circular economy, with over 95 per cent of the former administrative buildings being reused or recycled. Special efforts were also made in regard to energy management, with the rooftop solar panels producing an amount of electricity equivalent to the yearly consumption of 60 Swiss households, reducing dependence on the grid, and enhanced insulation, smart building features and LED lighting meaning that Olympic House won't use any more energy than our previous headquarters, despite being three times the size. In fact, it is anticipated that Olympic House will deliver a 35 per cent reduction in energy consumption, while our water-saving features and use of rainwater also mean Olympic House's consumption of the municipal supply should be 60 per cent less than a conventional building.

    As well as pushing sustainability boundaries, Olympic House allows us to bring together all our staff under one roof. Previously spread across four locations in Lausanne, our 500 employees are now united at a single site, improving our operational efficiency and evolving the way we work together, while also providing a welcoming meeting place for the entire Olympic Movement.

    But Olympic House is more than just a building or another office block. It symbolises the principles of unity and peace that drive the Olympic Movement and is also an important part of the transformative journey undertaken by the IOC in the five years since the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, as we move towards greater transparency and collaboration.

    This new outlook and vision for the future is typified in the design of the building, with a glass facade that showcases openness and mimics the movement of an athlete, a dove-shaped roof that represents peace, and a central staircase based upon the five Olympic rings that links the various floors and their collaborative working areas. By combining symbolism, functionality and sustainability, Olympic House successfully reflects our ambition to both shape the future and stay relevant - key goals of Olympic Agenda 2020 that are central to our mission of building a better world through sport.

    By achieving unmatched levels of sustainability, Olympic House also demonstrates how the IOC is turning its commitments into action, serving as an inspiration for the Olympic Movement and sport as a whole.

    This project provided us with a unique opportunity to prove that we"walk the talk"when it comes to sustainability and transparency. We have taken this responsibility very seriously and believe that, by sharing the knowledge and expertise we have gained from this endeavour, it can offer a valuable example to others.

    This article was originally published in the WFSGI magazine which can be viewed here.
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