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Bring On the 2010 ECOLYMPICS!!

This year’s Winter Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada have been hailed as the most sustainable event in Olympic history. GreenShoots takes a closer look at how the 2010 games are going for the green! We also explore surfing, a sport near and dear to our own Cali Bamboo employees, and discover how a new surf board design is pushing the sport toward greener practices.

The Winter Games Go Green
Vancouver, in Canada’s British Columbia territory, has already been hailed as one of the world’s greenest cities. Public transportation is easily accessible, and downtown is extremely pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly. Thoughtful urban planning has cut down on waste and preserved the area’s surrounding natural landscape.

All buildings in the 2010 Olympic Village, where athletes will be staying, qualify for gold or platinum LEED certification. Floors are heated from below through “in-slab hydronic heating” where high efficiency boilers heat water that circulates under the floor. This form of sustainable heating cuts down on energy use and helps to minimize the dust particles floating in the air. The athletes’ apartments are also equipped with solar panels and roof systems that collect re-useable rainwater. Many of the new buildings were constructed using timber from trees that had fallen in storms, and the Richmond Oval speed-skating arena was built from trees destroyed by a beetle infestation.

Green planning in Vancouver goes far beyond new construction. 20 hydrogen-powered buses are being used to shuttle Olympians to and from their events. Other transportation will be provided by flex-fuel and hybrid cars. What’s more, visitors to the already environmentally-friendly city will enjoy free public transportation on the day of the event they’re attending.

After the last medals have been awarded and athletes have returned to their respective countries, the eco-efforts will live on. All Olympic Village buildings will be converted into housing complexes, and the new green buses will join Vancouver’s expanding hydrogen-run city infrastructure.

Where Bamboo Meets the Surf
Surfing goes beyond mere hobby-status for Cali Bamboo founders, Jeff Goldberg and Tanner Haigwood. Considering they developed the idea for their company while on a world surfing tour, it makes sense that the sport would continue to play a key role in the Cali Bamboo philosophy of green living. So when local veteran shaper, JP Holeman, of Holeman Surf Designs, approached vice-president Tanner about using Cali Bamboo plywood to craft a new, more environmentally-friendly surf board, the plan was naturally given the green light.

Holeman’s end result is a high performance board with 100% recycled eps (expanded polystyrene) foam, pine-based epoxy resin laminate, and a stringer and fins made from FSC® Certified bamboo plywood — delivering strength and flexibility for increased responsiveness. The new board ends up being a great deal greener than the polyurethane and toxic laminates used to create most of the surf boards currently on the water.

The next big step is to convince the surfing world that switching to more eco-friendly boards won’t compromise performance on the waves. As Holeman puts it, “If I don’t tell surfers they are ‘green,’ and just say they are super strong high performance boards, people love them. But when they hear ‘green’ they have a hard time believing the board will work. However, these boards flat out perform better than any normal poly urethane construction board. They last longer and surf with more life.”

Tanner (shown in the photo with the new board and his dog Duke) can back him up: “I was actually surprised with how well it performed, this being the prototype. It felt very responsive and alive under my feet. I’m very excited about the whole process and the possibilities of developing these green materials further.”

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