How Dubai Autodrome is pushing the pedal on sustainability

More than 5,000 solar panels were installed in 2022 around the venue, which also has several electric vehicle charging points

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Ashwani Kumar

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Dubai Autodrome. Photo: Supplied
Dubai Autodrome. Photo: Supplied

Published: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 6:07 PM

Last updated: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 7:33 PM

Dubai Autodrome is accelerating its transition to a sustainable venue by initiating several eco-friendly initiatives. Faisal Al Sahlawi, general manager of Dubai Autodrome, told Khaleej Times how the state-of-the-art venue supports the UAE’s efforts to create a sustainable future for all.

“At Dubai Autodrome, we’ve always been exploring ways to be more environmentally friendly as a venue while our parent company, Union Properties, has set a mandate for all subsidiaries to incorporate sustainability initiatives.”

Last year, more than 5,000 solar panels were installed around the venue. In its first full year of operations, Dubai Autodrome eliminated 4,544 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing 965 trucks from roads a year or 552,844,819 smartphones being charged. Also, almost a quarter of its total annual unused solar energy was put back into Dubai’s electricity grid to help serve the communities.

Faisal Al Sahlawi
Faisal Al Sahlawi

Al Sahlawi noted that the solar panel project helped mitigate the impacts of climate change while powering day-to-day operations on and off the track.

“Harnessing solar energy is logical given the large size of our venue and our location where there are almost 365 days of sunshine in the year.”

Dubai Autodrome also has several electric vehicle charging points at the venue.

“There has been a shift in the automotive landscape with more electric vehicles on the roads. We have electric charging points to help our customers charge their vehicles when they visit the Autodrome, and along with the solar panels, it helps put us at the forefront and accommodate this shift.”

Al Sahlawi underlined that the initiatives are aligned with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and aims to produce 75 per cent of its energy requirements from clean sources by 2050, contributing to the Net Zero 2050 initiative.

Electric vehicle charging points at Dubai Autodrome. Photo: Supplied
Electric vehicle charging points at Dubai Autodrome. Photo: Supplied

Striving to protect and preserve the environment, Dubai Autodrome will be relocating ghaf trees – the UAE’s national tree, to the venue in the future.

“Declared as the UAE’s national tree, ghaf trees not only remain green even in harsh desert environments but are also indigenous, meaning they can survive on very little water, as well as being able to offset our carbon footprint. Due to the rapid urbanisation that is taking place across Dubai, many of these trees now require to be relocated, and thanks to the size of our venue as well as its greenery space, we are now in a position to assist with this.”

The Autodrome includes an FIA-sanctioned 5.39km circuit with six different configurations, a race school, indoor and outdoor karting tracks, the Grandstand Retail Plaza, the Motorsport Business Park, and a paddock hospitality zone overlooking the track.

Asked about the sustainable practices adopted for events and non-motorsport activities, Al Sahlawi said: “We use LED lighting, which is efficient, long-lasting, and low-maintenance, while a variety of recycling segregation methods are now incorporated into our day-to-day practices. We are also working alongside our partners to recycle tyres that are used by cars while all of our booking processes are now operated electronically, meaning we eliminate the use of paper.”

During COP28, Autodrome’s partner AGMC transported delegates to and from the venue in their EV vehicles.

“Beyond COP28, we are also looking at the possibility of eliminating single-use plastics from our daily operations which would also include events that will be held across our venue,” Al Sahlawi added.

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