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Masdar City will welcome DoE to UAE’s first net-zero energy commercial headquarters

8 Dec 2023

The new partnership, which will enhance Masdar City's vibrant energy cluster, demonstrates the city's and the DOE's collective commitment to sustainability

ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi's Department of Energy (DoE) has announced its plans to relocate to the country's first net-zero energy commercial headquarters (HQ) building in Abu Dhabi's Masdar City in late 2025.

The new partnership, which will enhance Masdar City's vibrant energy cluster, demonstrates the city's and the DOE's collective commitment to sustainability.

The HQ building is the focal point of Masdar City Square, a commercial development of seven sustainable buildings that will be completed in 2024. The HQ building will feature a distinctive canopy of 1,033 PV (solar) panels, producing 104 percent of its annual energy needs, making it net-zero energy. Any excess energy produced will be fed into the Abu Dhabi electric grid.

Ahmed Mohammed Al Rumaithi, Undersecretary of DoE, said, "Our collaboration with Masdar City reflects our shared sustainability commitments to drive the energy and water transition, build a cleaner economy for our people, and substantially reduce our carbon footprint.

"As COP28 in the UAE progresses, we are proud to play a leading role in supporting the country's endeavours to achieve net-zero by 2050 through world-class, climate-friendly policies, regulations, and strategies that position our nation among the most dynamic in the world."

He added that the DoE's move to a net-zero energy building at Masdar City Square is another significant milestone in the department's sustainability journey. "This strategic step aligns seamlessly with the DOE's decarbonisation efforts to advance energy and water efficiency in Abu Dhabi. It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to sustainability, environmental protection, and bolstering green innovation."

Ahmed Baghoum, Masdar City's CEO, said, "The Masdar City Square HQ building's incredible design makes a show-stopping statement about the UAE's journey to net zero, and we're honoured to have a partner that is so clearly aligned with that statement. We're looking forward to having them join our thriving energy cluster."

The PV canopy, designed and angled to maximise solar energy production, is the most visible of the building's sustainability features. Thanks to a focus on passive design, or an architectural approach that works with the natural environment and the building's physical components to minimise the need for cooling, the HQ will require 43 percent less energy than a standard equivalent building.

Like many Masdar City buildings, Masdar City Square's HQ will have a low window-to-façade ratio and use window angling and shading to minimise direct sun while maximising natural light.

The building envelope will be airtight and use top-notch insulation to keep heat out and cooled air in. Design features will also play a practical role: For example, the solar canopy will provide shading to the entrance of the building in addition to generating energy.

Masdar City Square's HQ building is on track to be rated Zero Energy by the International Living Future Institute. It as well as Masdar City Square's other six buildings, are also on track for several other certifications: LEED Platinum, the highest international green building certification awarded by the US Green Building Council, Estidama 4-Pearl, Abu Dhabi's local green building rating system, and WELL Gold, which emphasises the well-being of building occupants.

The HQ building is being constructed with locally sourced, sustainable materials wherever possible, and 98.92 percent of construction waste is being diverted from landfills. The building will also use low-flow water fixtures and appliances, and the landscaping will require minimal water.

The building's total estimated carbon offset is calculated to be 1,065 tCO2e annually, which is equivalent to taking 231 gasoline cars off the road.

Masdar City recently completed the first net-zero energy commercial building in the UAE, called NZ1, featuring a smaller, simpler design that demonstrates that net-zero energy is achievable for almost any developer.
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