Global environmental challenges
Climate change, it’s snow joke
Japan budgeted $283 million for security at the summit and $30 million to build a temporary, low-emissions media centre far from where the G8 leaders are meeting in a luxury hotel.
The centre took five months to construct next to a ski resort and the company that built it says 95 percent of the materials will be recycled or reused once the building is torn down in the weeks after the G8 meeting.
During construction, tonnes of snow were scooped up from the resort’s car park and dumped into an insulated area under the floor. Of the 5.5 metres of snow, more than 4 metres remain, which is used to chill the air circulating around the cavernous two-storey building. Large arrays of solar panels also help power the centre and cut emissions.
Journalists can walk over glass panels to see the snow underneath.
Jun Oishi of Takenaka Corporation, which designed and built the centre, says it will save 6,ooo tonnes of carbon dioxide over its short life compared with a conventionally designed building.
It’s a revelation compared with the media tents at last December’s climate talks in Bali, which were basically sweat boxes filled with large and inefficient air conditioners battling the tropical heat.
Green though the new building is, the fleets of cars ferrying journalists between the airport and Sapparo, both two hours from the media centre, has raised doubts about how much carbon will ultimately be saved. A case of style over substance?