The National Aquatics Center or the "Water Cube" fully represents the concept of a "Green Olympics" in terms of architecture, engineering, environmental protection in the areas of material, energy and water resources as well as the indoor environmental quality, according to a Beijing Olympic official.
A feature of the project is the reasonable and efficient application of clean energies, said Yu Xiaoxuan, deputy director of the Venue and Environment Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
The "Water Cube" absorbs solar radiation and reduces thermal loss. This guarantees that most of the sunlight serves as the thermal source of heating the swimming pool water, Yu said in a recent media interview.
The maximum use of natural ventilation and lighting is a feature of the environmental design of the project's outer surfaces. This is designed to ensure temperature and humidity control in different areas of the swimming pool and the provision of a comfortable indoor environment for athletes and spectators, Yu added.
He said the architects skillfully took water use into consideration, ensuring the maximum and efficient utilization and recycling of water and protection of its quality and environment. The advanced water treatment system enables the water quality to meet the national standard and the rigid standards of the International Amateur Swimming Federation (FINA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Yu, guided by the concept of sustainable development, the designers chose innovative energy-saving materials and products to reduce internal and external pollution.
The realization of a "Green Olympics" in the "Water Cube" project set a good example for other Olympic venues and the construction urban projects in Beijing, Yu believed.
The project uses state-of-the-art ETFE material which is light but very strong. The blue bubbles outside the National Aquatics Center comprise over 3,000 air cushions which look like "one" but are actually independent of each other. This provides convenience for replacement of individual cushions when needed.
The swimming pool is 13 meters deep which assists maintain water temperatures, explained project manager Sun Hongzhuang. The pool temperature will be kept at 28 degrees Celsius which is the best suitable for swimmers, Sun said.
The venue can seat 17,000 spectators. "We've made lots of personalized positioning decisions to ensure the spectators at every corner can see athletes' perform," said Sun.
(China Daily December 27, 2006)