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GEMS Education to open groundbreaking net-zero GEMS Founders School – Masdar City in 2024

16 Nov 2023

New purpose-built campus boasts a wealth of innovative sustainability features

Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, said: “GEMS Founders School – Masdar City is bold, ambitious, and pioneering. It reflects GEMS’ commitment to sustainability, the environment, and a greener planet.

“With its wealth of eco-friendly features and new sustainability models in education, we are immensely proud of what this school means and stands for. Across our schools, we teach climate change literacy, and our students rightly demand that we back up our words with action.

“With GEMS Founders School – Masdar City and other of our schools leading the way, we are nurturing environmentally conscious global citizens and preparing them to make a positive impact on the world.”

The GFA site will be net-zero energy, generating as much energy as the facility consumes, minimising environmental impact and promoting energy efficiency. This sustainability-driven strategy features an extensive solar panel system spanning 9,500 square metres, projected to generate 3.1 million kWh of energy annually. These solar panels serve a dual purpose: powering the school and providing shade to the building’s roof areas, car park, and walkways, enhancing energy efficiency and lowering temperatures.

The school’s enhanced thermal insulation, optimised building orientation, and other innovative features are set to reduce its annual CO2 footprint by 1,154 tonnes. Water conservation measures, waste management strategies, electric vehicle charging points, as well as exceptional facilities for effective teaching and learning further exemplify GFA’s commitment to a sustainable future.

Matthew Burfield, Senior Vice President – Education at GEMS Education and Executive Principal/CEO of GEMS Founders School – Dubai, said: “As the GEMS Founders family of schools evolves and expands, it remains a beacon of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. We are proud to bring the Founders brand to Abu Dhabi in such a sustainable form, in line with the green vision of both the UAE and Masdar City.

“GFA will pioneer a transformative approach to education by establishing an innovative model for environmental responsibility, where sustainability and commitment to ecological stewardship play a central role in nurturing the leaders of tomorrow and contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.”

GFA follows the opening of GEMS Founders School – Dubai in 2016 and GEMS Founders School – Al Mizhar in 2018. Known for providing high-quality education and exceptional value, the GEMS Founders schools already serve more than 10,180 students. With a projected initial capacity of 900, GFA is set to increase that total substantially from September next year.

About GEMS Education 

GEMS Education is one of the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers. It is a highly regarded choice for quality private education in the Middle East and North Africa region. As a company founded in the UAE in 1959, it holds an unparalleled track record of providing diverse curricula and educational choices to all socio-economic means. GEMS Education now owns and operates 63 schools and educates over 130,000 students in the MENA region; and through its growing network of schools as well as charitable contributions is fulfilling the founder’s vision of putting a quality education within the reach of every child. 

For further information about GEMS Education, visit or contact: 

Mina Kiwan  
Senior Account Director 
Memac Ogilvy 
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