USA Pavilion At 2012 World Expo Showcased Green Practices

Once upon a time, a World’s Fair celebration — such as the one that took place in Seattle in 1962, which spurred the construction of the Seattle Space Needle — was an event that could change the face of a city forever. Since then, these celebrations (which have been known since Montreal’s event in 1967 as Expos) have become somewhat less elaborate, but this year’s event in Yeosu, Korea, is still a big deal, to say the least. Which is why we’re happy to report that the USA Pavilion at Expo 2012 collaborated with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to go green.

The partnership, aimed at enhancing the sustainable practices and operation of the USA Pavilion at the World Expo, took a number of forms. The USA Pavilion and USGBC first worked together to assess the environmental impact of the pavilion, then took steps accordingly to reduce that impact. (This part of the collaboration took place in advance of the pavilion’s opening in Yeosu in May — the celebration ran until August 12.) Representatives from the USA Pavilion and the USGBC also worked together to develop a best practices case study for future projects and events.

USA Pavilion

image via USA Pavilion

Working with USGBC, the USA Pavilion committee worked to embody the environmental and sustainability focus of this summer’s Expo’s theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast.” Toward that end, the pavilion optimized water use; conserved energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; reduced waste, increased reuse, and ensured proper disposal of waste; and engaged all of its stakeholders in environmental stewardship and sustainable operations, encouraging personal action and positive change.

Among those stakeholders were the USA Pavilion’s 40 Student Ambassadors. These students were challenged to reduce the day to day impact of the pavilion’s operation by taking positive action onsite at the World Expo, and to carry those green habits forward upon their return to the United States.

In working with the USA Pavilion, the USGBC drew upon its extensive experience in creating sustainable tradeshows and exhibitions stemming from their annual conference, Greenbuild, which has received four IMEX Green Meeting awards. More information is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.