Expo 2020 Dubai to lend planet a hand towards sustainability
The 182-day mega-event in Dubai aims to address environmental challenges, such as climate change, plastic pollution and biodiversity conservation, through a collaborative and people-centred strategy.
Now, more than any time in recent memory, it is essential we give our undivided attention to the existential threats to humanity and nature, acting now to protect the planet for our communities and generations to come.
As the largest event ever held in the Arab world, bringing together more than 200 participants, including 191 nations, Expo 2020 – opening on October 1, 2021 in Dubai – aims to be a platform to help heal the planet, for people’s voices to be heard in policy circles, to generate new ideas, inspire new perspectives, and map a clear path forward for urgent action.
Aiming to be one of the most sustainable world expos in history, the 182-day mega-event will address key environmental challenges, such as climate change, plastic pollution, and biodiversity and conservation, through a collaborative, grassroots and people-centred strategy.
Dina Storey, the director of sustainability operations at Expo 2020 Dubai, said sustainability — which is one of the key subthemes of the Dubai Expo — is embedded across the entirety of our 4.38 square kilometres site, including the infrastructure, pavilion designs and event operations.
“To achieve these goals, and create a meaningful impact beyond the site and beyond our six-month run, we have undertaken a wide-ranging approach to sustainability, backing our grand ambitions with grand action and aligning with national and international drivers, such as the UAE Centennial 2071 Plan, UAE Vision 2050 and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said.
Expo 2020’s sustainability policy focuses on several areas. These include design and construction – including the use of sustainable materials and sustainability certification – all the way to event operations, accessibility, inclusion and community volunteering.
The mega-event has also established a number of key focus areas, including diverting from landfill a minimum of 85% of all waste into different waste streams during construction, operation and decommissioning – supported by Dulsco, the official waste management partner of Expo 2020 Dubai. In terms of energy, Expo 2020 is also working to reduce the energy demand of its buildings by a minimum of 20% when compared to international standards, and exceeded this in 2019, with a 30% reduction.
The event is also using recycled water for all non-potable applications, reducing water demand in its buildings by 40% in comparison to local standards, and collecting and using at least 95% of recovered condensate water from its buildings.
At least nine infrastructure projects across Expo 2020 have been rated ‘excellent’ under CEEQUAL, the highest rating given by internationally recognised sustainability assessment for civil engineering.
More than 120 permanent buildings across the site are also designed to meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council, with numerous buildings, including the UAE Pavilion and Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion — set to achieve LEED Platinum status, the highest accreditation for sustainable architecture globally.
Terra is one of Expo 2020’s signature experiences, one of three thematic pavilions, that will take millions of visitors on an immersive, reflective and emotive journey through the wonders of the natural world – inspiring them to help build a better, more sustainable future.
Energy is generated through the photovoltaic panels, at least 4,912 of which are arranged on a 130-metre-wide roof canopy and atop a series of 18 ‘energy trees’ in the landscape, placed around the building to provide shade in external spaces and tracking the sun’s path to generate as much power as possible.
John Bull, the director of the Terra said the building’s emotive visitor experience tells the enchanting story of humankind’s relationship with the rest of nature, while addressing negative environmental impacts, caused in large part by human behaviour, helping visitors to understand their impact on the environment, break the cycle of consumerism and become agents of change. “We want every visitor to feel motivated, energised and passionate after they experience everything that Terra has to offer, so they leave the pavilion inspired and committed to make a difference,” he said.