The world's growing interest in all things green—along with international conferences like COP15—have put pressure on Olympic organizers to prove that the 2010 Winter Olympics won't have a big environmental impact. That's why the International Olympic Committee enlisted help from energy conservation startup Pulse Energy in monitoring real-time energy usage at this year's games. The best part: Pulse's Venue Energy Tracker Web site lets anyone keep track of the amount of energy being consumed in Olympic sports arenas.
According to Pulse Energy CEO David Halliwell, the idea for the energy tracker came about over a couple of years. "The Olympic organizers had so much other stuff going on that they weren't focused on keeping track of how things were going. But in the summertime, the committee suggested that they should keep track of how venues were performing in real time. They wanted to set a benchmark for how the Olympics should operate," he explained.
So the Olympic Committee, Pulse Energy, and local utility BC Hydro teamed up to build an energy monitoring and reporting system for the majority of the Olympic venues in Vancouver. The system collects information from a wide range of sources, including electricity, gas, and hot water meters. It then calculates how each facility should be performing in real time under optimal conditions and compares it to other Olympic venues. "It can quickly shine a light on parts of buildings that aren't working the way they're meant to," Halliwell said.
Pulse's system isn't cheap—it cost a few thousand dollars to set it up in the Richmond Olympic Oval alone—but Halliwell says that payback comes in as quickly 6 to 12 months. And this is the first time the Olympics have kept track of energy usage at all. Most importantly, the information gleaned from Pulse's system will help Vancouver's venues maintain energy efficiency long after the games are over.