Laura Trejo was one of the first visitors to step through the gates of Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday morning, and the Sustainability Pavilion was top of her list of places to visit.
Living in Mexico City, she travelled to the UAE earlier this week for a working holiday.
The 31-year-old environmental consultant said it was encouraging to see sustainability a key focus at the fair.
“We came here to the world expo exclusively to see the Sustainability Pavilion. I’m excited to see the solar panels that feed the energy for the expo," she said.
“I really admire the fact that the UAE made a pledge to deliver one of the most sustainable world expos ever, taking things into consideration like water and electricity savings.
“The site, my goodness, it’s huge. I would love to come back when the event is over and see how the buildings and space will be used as I know there is a long-term plan in place.”
Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion, is considered a net-zero energy building and has 12,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels across its roof and energy trees, fitted with solar panels.
Fifty per cent of the plants at Expo 2020 - and 95 per cent that will be planted after the event - come from native and adaptive species, too.
The Expo team has also installed renewable energy systems with a combined total capacity of 5.5 megawatts on all permanent building projects across the site.
To put that into perspective, that’s enough energy to complete about 180,000 round trips by car from Downtown Dubai to the Corniche in Abu Dhabi.
Expo a great place to teach kids to recycle
Visiting the world’s fair with his friends, using the Dh95 October pass, Eddie Doringo, a mechanic living in Abu Dhabi, said he plans to make more trips to Expo over the next few weeks.
“We just arrived a little while ago and it’s even bigger than I imagined so we need to come back again to really see everything,” the 50-year-old Filipino said.
“We live in the UAE where the sun shines pretty much all year around, so it is good to see that so many solar panels have been used to power the lights and things throughout the site.
“I’m sure when I go into the country pavilions in the Sustainability District I’ll learn a lot about reducing waste and saving energy at home, so it will be a good learning experience as well as a fun day out.”
Patrica Bridget, a veterinary assistant in Dubai, said it was music to her ears when she found out one of the main pavilions would be dedicated to sustainable practice.
An avid recycler and self-confessed Irish eco-warrior, she said the interactive bins that encourage visitors to segregate rubbish is a step in the right direction.
“One of my biggest bug bears is seeing people littering or just dumping trash for landfill that could easily be recycled,” she said.
“The bins that are located all throughout the fair talk back to you and thank you when you give it your rubbish. That, for kids at least, makes a mundane task fun and that’s a great way to learn.
“I’ve been to the Expo twice now and shock horror, the Sustainability Pavilion is my favourite as I love learning about anything that involves oceans and forests.”