Sustainable Design: Introducing Dubai’s Giant Solar Power Tree

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  • The “energy tree” at the Dubai Expo is made from 97% recycled steel and supports more than 1,055 solar panels.
  • The structure is a key part of an overall strategy to create a building that is self-sufficient in water and electricity.
  • The pavilion was built for UAE real estate development company Emaar Properties and will contain exhibits focused on sustainability.

British studio Grimshaw designed a pavilion topped with a 135-meter-wide solar-paneled canopy to anchor the sustainability district to the Dubai Expo.

Called Terra, the pavilion stands at one of the main entrances to the site and generates all of its own water and energy.

The Sustainability Pavilion stands near one of the entrances to the exhibition

The Sustainability Pavilion stands near one of the entrances to the exhibition

Image: Dezeen

Designed as the main permanent building of the sustainability district, the pavilion contains 6,000 square meters of exhibition space largely embedded in the ground.

These spaces are covered with earthen roofs and shaded by a giant tree-shaped canopy made from 97 percent recycled steel that supports more than 1,055 solar panels.

It is sheltered by a large tree structure

It is sheltered by a large tree structure

Image: Dezeen

Informed by the drought-tolerant Ghaf tree, this oval-shaped sloping canopy is supported by a central column.

The structure is a key part of the studio’s strategy to create a building that is self-sufficient in water and electricity.

The structure also supports more than 1,000 solar panels.

The structure also supports more than 1,000 solar panels.

Image: Dezeen

The solar panels on the main canopy, along with eighteen smaller rotating energy trees surrounding it, are expected to generate four gigawatt hours of electricity per year.

The Grimshaw Sustainability Pavilion has also been designed to reuse 100% of the water it uses.

The glass roof provides shade for the buildings containing the exhibitions.

The glass roof provides shade for the buildings containing the exhibitions.

Image: Dezeen

The main canopy acts as a collection area for storm water and dew, while additional water is collected in smaller aquatic trees surrounding the main structure.

Around the main building are also a series of planted gardens to create a water efficient landscape which is used to filter, supply and recycle water.

“The key to our design approach was to develop a ranked matrix of project and location potential, leading the team to prioritize designs, which will have the greatest potential to bring positive transformational change for our client and the communities within. which the project is located, ”explained the studio.

“For this project, we can highlight both the combination of passive design strategies, energy efficiency optimizations and on-site power generation, as well as on-site water reuse as key priorities. “

The gardens surrounding the pavilion contain energy trees.

The gardens surrounding the pavilion contain energy trees.

Image: Dezeen

The pavilion is arranged around the column supporting the tree canopy. An open courtyard is wrapped around the column, with the exhibition spaces contained in a series of concrete structures embedded in the ground.

The exterior walls of the exhibition halls were constructed from gabion walls filled with stone from the Hajar Mountains.

Exhibits show natural environments and demonstrate the impact humans have

Exhibits show natural environments and demonstrate the impact humans have

Image: Dezeen

The pavilion’s immersive exhibits were designed by New York designers Thinc in collaboration with the Eden Project.

Switching to clean energy is key to tackling climate change, but over the past five years, the energy transition has stalled.

Energy consumption and production contributes two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the world’s energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. In addition, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018, energy intensity improved 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.

Effective policies, private sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential for a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing the energy transition is the lack of preparedness among the world’s largest emitters, including the United States, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries with the highest preparedness scores represent only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

To sustain the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials platform works on initiatives such as system efficiency, innovation and clean energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable investment. , innovative energy technologies and solutions.

In addition, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) works to bring together public and private partners to continue the industry transition to put the heavy industry and mobility sectors on a net zero emission path. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Commission on Energy Transitions.

Does your organization want to work with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

In the galleries, visitors will take a journey through the forests and seas of the world and learn about the impact humans have on the world.

The pavilion was built for UAE real estate development company Emaar Properties and will contain sustainability-focused exhibits throughout the six-month exhibit.

After the event, the building will be converted into a permanent museum dedicated to science and sustainability.

The Dubai Expo is the latest World’s Fair – an international exhibition designed to showcase architecture and innovation.

The six-month event will see contributions from 180 countries, including pavilions from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as the Qatar pavilion and United Arab Emirates pavilion by Santiago Calatrava.


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