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Expo 2020 Dubai now home to 121 LEED-certified buildings as mega-event continues to embody its Sustainability subtheme

06 Nov, 2021

More than 120 permanent buildings across Expo 2020 Dubai have been certified by the US Green Building Council in a major sustainability milestone, not only for the mega-event itself, but for its legacy project District 2020, the human-centric sustainable smart city that will repurpose 80 per cent of the Expo site.

Seven buildings across the 4.38 sqkm location, including the UAE Pavilion, Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion and ENOC’s ‘Service Station of the Future’, have been certified ‘Platinum’, the highest possible rating under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – the most widely used green building rating system globally, and a mark of excellence for highly-efficient, cost-saving sustainable architecture.

Of the 121 LEED-certified buildings, 103 are also LEED Gold, nine are LEED Silver and two are ‘Certified’.

The LEED certification system certifies buildings that typically reduce energy and water consumption over their lifetimes; have lower operational costs and carbon footprints; are constructed from environmentally-sensitive materials; have fewer impacts during construction; have better indoor air quality; and are better connected to the community, contributing to a more sustainable urban environment.

Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “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 – honouring the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to position the UAE as a sustainable development pioneer and a green economy hub.

“A result of the hard work and dedication of our sustainability and site-delivery teams, our LEED certifications are emblematic of our efforts not only to host one of the most sustainable World Expos in history but to ensure our physical legacy, District 2020, serves as a model for the sustainable smart cities of the future.”

After Expo ends on 31 March 2022, its LEED-certified buildings will live on within District 2020, the sustainable human-centric smart city that will repurpose 80 per cent of the mega-event’s permanent built environment.

Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, Managing Director, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), said: “Achieving LEED certification is more than just implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better. 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. I am honored that they have chosen LEED certification to commit to this worthy goal.” 

The LEED certifications build on the eight CEEQUAL ‘Excellent’ certificates, awarded to Expo earlier this year for numerous infrastructure projects, including Al Wasl Plaza and the steel and trellis work of the dome that encircles it, creating the largest 360-degree projection surface in the world. CEEQUAL – the internationally recognised sustainability assessment, rating and certification scheme for best practice in infrastructure projects – assesses a range of sustainability criteria, including land use, ecology, transport, resilience and pollution.

News of the LEED certificates comes as Expo 2020 Dubai wraps up Urban and Rural Development Week, which united leaders, experts and citizens between 31 October and 6 November, to explore how we must transform the way we move, build, consume and live in the habitats of the future.

Urban and Rural Development Week is the third of 10 Theme Weeks taking place throughout Expo as part of the Programme for People and Planet, in an exchange of inspiring new perspectives that tackle the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time, including climate, connectivity, the future of human health and more.

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