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Masdar City in Abu Dhabi .. first zero emission sustainable city

Masdar City Abu Dhabi zero emissions sustainable city

Today, the world witness initiatives towards a sustainable development and renewable energy. That is to replace the fossil fuel causing pollution. A remarkable achievement in this area is Masdar City in Abou Dhabi, UAE. A whole city that depends on renewable energy which makes it the world’s first zero emission city. The slogan of the city is “Built for Sustainable Advantage. Enabling innovation and sustainable urban development in a modern clean tech cluster and free economic zone”.

Abu Dhabi Masdar City Initiation

Masdar City City Engine 3D

In 2008, The Mubadala Development Company, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, established Masdar City. The City is an example of how to build a modern city depending on renewable energy and reducing the consumption of energy, water & waste. In the same time, the city keeps the cultural touch of the Arabic architecture.

Location of Masdar City is at a distance of 17 KM to Abou Dhabi. The total area is about 6 Km2. It includes residential areas, Research centers (Masdar Institute) and clean tech companies such as Siemens, GE, Schneider, and Lockheed Martin.


Masdar City

Masdar City is part of Masdar initiative that serves the vision of Abou Dhabi 2030. The initiative includes a comprehensive program that targets sustainable development and clean energy. Therefore, Masdar City hosts Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Its is a graduate level, research-oriented university that is focusing on alternative energy, sustainability, and the environment.

City is an ecosystem integrating knowledge, research and development, a technology cluster and a business and investment free zone. It Focuses on innovation and sustainability to attract businesses, educational institutions and residents. Today, Masdar City is a cultural destination in its own right receiving on average 2,300 visitors each week.


Sustainable Development at Masdar City

A 10-megawatt solar plant serves Masdar City. Additionally, There are solar panels mounted on the building roofs. The resulted energy covers the needs of the city without a need to use fossil fuel.

Additionally, the city is using high tech to reduce the consumption. Masdar City does not include buttons for switching the electricity on & off. Alternatively, there are sensors everywhere to detect the motion and then, automatically switch the electricity when there is no need. That technique allows the city to cut around 51% percent of electricity consumption.

The architecture design of the city ensures the existence of shade among the buildings. Also it allows the air rotation which naturally cools down the temperature. Accordingly, the temperature inside Masdar City is 15 to 20 degree less than the temperature just outside the city. That efficient architecture reduces the need to use air conditions.

Construction of buildings used low-carbon cement and 90 per cent recycled aluminium, in addition to other locally-sourced and verified materials.

Moving from a building to another is by using electric driver-less cars. The car automatically takes the passenger to destination without interference from passenger in the driving. This is done underground which leaves the city surface for people to walk freely among the buildings. in other words, Masdar City is walk-able and pedestrian friendly place.

Masdar City transportation

City adopts efficient water management using high-efficiency appliances, low-flow showers, a water tariff, and smart water meters. Moreover, wastewater is recycled & treated for plant irrigation.

Solar Impulse 2

If you remember, In june 2016, there was a plane that completed a travel around the world without a single drop of fuel. that was Solar Impulse 2, the solar-powered plane.

Solar Impulse 2 is one of the projected backed by Masdar. its tour started from Abou Dhabi and visited anouther 15 cities around the world before landing again in Abou Dhabi. It flew 40,000 km to promote the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency on the ground, for a better quality of life.

Masdar City - Solar Impulse 2

Sample Environment Friendly Buildings

Source is Masdar City Fact Sheet.

Siemens Middle East HQ

The award-winning building. It is designed with sustainable materials and energy efficient technologies. Therefore, it is the first, 3 Pearl Estidama and LEED Platinum certified office building in Abu Dhabi. The Siemens Middle East HQ consumes 64% less energy than typical office buildings in Abu Dhabi.


A three-block building completed during 2014. It is the permanent headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The 32,064 m2 complex is the UAE’s first 4 Pearl structure under the Estidama Pearl Building Rating System. The passive design and smart energy-management systems enable the complex to consume 42% less energy than global energy-efficiency standards. That is equivalent to 64% less than typical office buildings in Abu Dhabi.

Incubator Building

Masdar City’s first commercial property. It is home to more than 400 companies. Integrating retail and office space, the building houses a range of businesses from start-ups and SMEs to regional offices of large multinational corporations. The building uses innovative design, high performance façades and smart shading strategies. That reduce solar radiation by nearly 40%, thereby helping to reduce the operating costs of businesses.

Masdar Institute Campus

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI) campus is the city’s nucleus. After an expansion in 2013, the campus now has 323 residential units and accommodates several hundred students, more than 100 faculty and researchers, four research centers of excellence, and an additional center dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship. The MI campus covers 33,000 m2 and provides a new benchmark as a model of sustainable living and an academic environment conducive to cutting-edge research. The building facades are highly insulated and also designed to minimize direct solar penetration. Generally, It is a combination that passively helps to minimize energy consumption.

The Knowledge Center

This signature building is the gateway to the Masdar Institute campus. The center is a model of sustainable design and sets a new benchmark for other energy efficient buildings. The building’s distinctive roof, while providing shade, also minimizes the structure’s cooling load and controls natural daylight. In addition, the center’s orientation optimizes the efficiency of its rooftop photo voltaic array and thermal tubes. The 900m2 space hosts Masdar Institute’s library for the use of students and researchers.


Future Plans

Currently, there are only few thousands of people living in Masdar City. The Plan is the city will have around 40,000 residents in additional 50,000 commuting every day to work and study. Accordingly, city continues to add new businesses, schools, restaurants, apartments to serve the plan.

Masdar Institute is planning to expand and attract more students and researchers. That is with cooperation with the clean tech companies existing in the city.

The city is planning to continue as a modern city with zero emissions city, giving an inspiration to the rest of world.

Read our article about Clean Air countries here.