Seven green Expo buildings earn platinum global rating

More than 100 structures on world’s fair site score well on US chart measuring energy and water efficiency

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The Sustainability pavilion, called Terra, an Enoc service station and the UAE and Saudi pavilions are among seven structures at Expo 2020 Dubai that earned the highest rating in a global green index.

The Rove hotel and two other buildings that encircle Al Wasl dome, the 360-degree projection screen, also gained the top rating under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or Leed, a widely recognised system that measures cost-saving sustainable architecture.

All of these things affect me as a person who will be in this building - the air I breathe, my comfort level, the light pollution
Dina Storey, director of Expo’s sustainability operations

Dina Storey, director of Expo’s sustainability operations, said that as the UAE moves to achieve 2050 net zero goals, the ratings would boost people’s understanding of green energy targets.

“These seven buildings are 33 per cent more efficient in terms of energy and about 50 per cent more efficient in terms of water consumption,” she told The National.

“What we are doing at Expo is a pilot for what can be done around the Dubai and also around the UAE and the region.”

A total of 121 permanent buildings received the Leed certification from the US Green Building Council, the non-profit organisation that created and developed the rating.

The council gave 103 buildings a gold rating, nine were given silver and two others were certified, Expo officials said on Sunday.

The Mobility Pavilion is among the structures rated gold, with other top-scoring buildings in the thematic districts of sustainability, opportunity and in the Expo Village.

The ratings are important because 80 per cent of the site will become part of District 2020, a residential and business neighbourhood, once the Expo ends in March.

“The efficiency will be great value for tenants and can save a lot of money for the people who will be living and working here in the future,” Ms Storey said.

The goal extends beyond a certificate and centres on influencing attitudes to gauge a structure’s “sustainability value”.

“There is a social aspect to it as people will have the advantage of having better filtration systems, meaning the air inside the building is healthier,” she said.

“It will be cooler when everywhere outside is warm with not much energy usage. All of these things affect me as a person who will be in this building - the air I breathe, my comfort level, the light pollution. All these aspects are included in this holistic certification that puts the well-being of the person inhabiting it at the centre of the equation.”

Buildings are given points and the score increases based on several elements from materials used, architecture that provides for shade and cooling, low consumption of water and energy and indoor air quality.

Sourcing construction materials locally can reduce carbon emissions. UV-resistant window glass and shading structures built into the design reduce the heat generated by direct sunlight.

Water usage is lowered by reducing flow in the faucets and toilets. The wood used for construction is also certified to guarantee it does not come from an endangered area such as a rainforest.

Because Leed certifications are given only to permanent structures, dozens of country pavilions that use green technology are not covered by the rating.

Ahmed Al Khatib, chief development and delivery officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, said this was part of efforts to host one of the most sustainable world expos in history and tied into the legacy for District 2020 as a model smart city of the future.

“Moulding the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the places we live, sustainability at Expo represents our commitment to making a tangible, positive impact at a local, regional and global level throughout our 182-day run and beyond,” he said.

Mr Al Khatib said it honoured the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to position the country as a “green economy” hub.

Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, managing director, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Green Business Certification Inc, said it represented a commitment to making the world a better place.

“Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection in the Middle East and the central role buildings play in that effort, Expo 2020 Dubai is setting the intention for the entire region, and carving a path toward the sustainable future its citizens deserve,” he said.

Updated: November 08, 2021, 10:37 AM