Masdar News

Masdar City promoting wider industry adoption of sustainable urban development

05 Apr 2016
  • Iconic development increasing access to green building techniques; expanding as an education destination and hub for human capital
  • Third-party projects to incorporate architectural and engineering innovations such as robotic car parking
  • The Future Build online platform now hosts 660 verified sustainable building products and materials

Abu Dhabi, April 6, 2016 – Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments, is helping the Middle East’s real estate industry to acquire valuable green building expertise as it continues to expand.

More than a third (35%) of the City’s planned built-up area will be completed within the next five years, a significant proportion of it by third-party developers whose projects will be realised according to stringent environmental standards.

Third-party developments include a six-floor office block and upscale private apartments and townhouses, to be completed within the City’s existing footprint by the end of next year by Tristar Real Estate, a subsidiary of the UAE-based conglomerate Tristar Holdings.

A new campus of Emirates College of Technology, the Abu Dhabi-based private higher education institution, and a new GEMS Education school are also among the third-party projects planned.

These and other developments will meet a minimum ‘3 Pearl’ rating under the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s green building standards framework, Estidama, meaning they will be designed to be up to 40% more water and energy efficient than comparable existing buildings, while also using more environmentally friendly materials in their construction.

The Masdar City campus of the Emirates College of Technology aims to incorporate robotic parking technology to maximise the efficient use of space, widening the adoption of architectural and civil engineering innovation in the region.

“Masdar City is a template for sustainable urban development, and its evolution is taking place in partnership with a growing community of developers, investors and private sector companies,” said Anthony Mallows, Executive Director of Masdar City.

“This community is actively contributing to and benefitting from the sustainable building practices and advanced technologies deployed in the realisation of the City, whether it’s the application of renewable energy, energy- and water-saving processes, or the use of low-carbon cement and recycled metals.

“At the same time, Masdar City is raising the bar for sustainable urban development through the various R&D initiatives and demonstration projects active on site, such as the Eco-Villa Prototype now under construction.”

The Eco-Villa Prototype is designed to use 72% less energy and 35% less water than existing villas in Abu Dhabi, and can even export power to the national grid when equipped with rooftop solar panels.

A purpose-built facility at Masdar City is promoting the reuse and recycling of construction waste, while another Masdar initiative, The Future Build, is enabling architects, developers and contractors to source sustainable building products and materials more easily through a dedicated portal.

Around 300 products were added to the website last year, nearly doubling the service’s existing inventory. In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council, The Future Build aims to create the UAE’s largest database of independently certified products complying with the Estidama Pearl Rating System and other green building rating systems.

Besides helping the real estate industry to gain hands-on experience in sustainable urban development, Masdar City is building its profile as a hub for knowledge building in both the classroom and the laboratory.

Its anchor tenant the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has graduated 447 students since 2011 and honoured its first PhD students last year. The Institute is undertaking industry- and government-sponsored research contracts worth than US$60 million and conducts its own community outreach programme, the Young Future Energy Leaders, engaging the brightest Arab youth in the subjects of alternative energy and clean technology.

Institute alumni have launched at least five business startups to date.

The expanding Masdar City will also cater to the training and education needs of Abu Dhabi’s growing and increasingly diversified economy, including quality primary- and secondary-level schooling, and higher education in business, technology and vocational subjects.

This is in addition to the extensive corporate and public sector training provided by existing Masdar City tenants, such as Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and the Global Green Growth Institute.

The new campus of Emirates College of Technology will host an estimated 3,000 students, the majority UAE nationals, as well as laboratories, a library and other study facilities, and an auditorium and sport hall.

The new school of GEMS Education, expected to start building this year within Masdar City’s planned R&D cluster, plans to offer the National Curriculum for England to about 2,500 students at the pre-school, primary and secondary levels.

Meanwhile, Ryan International Group of Education Institutions is already operating Phase 1 of its CBSE school project with capacity for 2,700 students at Masdar City.

“Masdar City is enabling innovation in sustainability and clean technologies by integrating education, R&D, investment and business opportunity,” said Anthony Mallows of Masdar City.

“We are promoting knowledge building at the industry level through the real-world insights gained from the ongoing construction of the City, at the academic level through the advanced R&D conducted by the Masdar Institute, and at the community level through the different educational institutions catering to the specific needs of the local economy and labour market. All these elements contribute to Masdar City’s successful, evolving ecosystem.”

Masdar City’s ongoing expansion will be showcased at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the real estate exhibition and conference taking place from April 12-14.