U.S. gives Olympic Village gold for going green

BEIJING, CHINA - The United States awarded the Beijing Olympic Village with its own gold medal, lauding its environmentally friendly design and holding it up as a model for energy efficiency in China.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson presented the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Award to Chen Zhili, Mayor of the Olympic Village and Vice-Chairwoman of China's National People's Congress.

Paulson called the Village an example of U.S.-China cooperation on energy and environmental issues, urging more work along those lines. The U.S. Department of Energy provided technical assistance for the project.

"China's leaders know that the development of green buildings is a critical need, and the Olympic Village can serve as a model for this development," Paulson said.

"China, given its current economic growth and prosperity, can be a leader in deploying and using advanced energy and environmental technology."

Organizers have made "Green Olympics" one of the official slogans of the Games, and many of the venues have incorporated innovations such as systems to collect rainwater.

The Olympic Village itself includes a near-zero energy building that generates most of its power, heating and cooling through renewable sources such as solar cells and geothermal heat pumps.

This is one discipline, though, in which gold does not mean top spot. The U.S. Green Building Council, which issues the LEED certifications, has an even more elite category: platinum.


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