Masdar News

Masdar City Welcomes the Completed IRENA Global Headquarters Building

20 Jan 2015

Abu Dhabi’s first 4 Pearl-rated office building by the Urban Planning Council’s Estidama Programme for sustainability

Abu Dhabi, UAE – January 21, 2015: Masdar today announced the completion of the IRENA Global Headquarters complex, which is almost fully leased and will be the permanent home of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), as well as other commercial tenants. Located in Masdar City – Abu Dhabi’s low-carbon, sustainable urban development – IRENA will officially move in by the end of the first quarter 2015.

The completion of the IRENA complex was announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015 – a yearly platform that addresses the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate risk and sustainable development.

The IRENA Global Headquarters – a 31,983 square-meter (GFA), multi-use complex, comprised of three, connected buildings – is the first office building in Abu Dhabi to be awarded a 4 Pearl Estidama Construction Rating Certificate by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC). The Estidama Pearl-Rating System, created and managed by the UPC, is the Arab world’s first sustainability rating system designed to assess the sustainability performance of buildings, communities and villas.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, said the completion of the IRENA Global Headquarters is a significant milestone in the development of Masdar City. “Delivery of the IRENA Global Headquarters underscores Masdar City’s leadership as a model of sustainable design and urban development within the UAE and globally. The four-Pearl rating sets a new benchmark for sustainable design and showcases how high-performance buildings can reduce energy and water consumption, while remaining cost competitive.”

The building complex is united by a common atrium and a single rooftop. The complex conserves energy and water and creates shared space. The atrium connects offices to open spaces where people will be able to shop, to dine and experience the modern, sustainable lifestyle exemplified by Masdar City.

H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General, UPC,said: “From its conception through to construction, the complex strictly adhered to Estidama’s four pillars of sustainability — social, environmental, economic and cultural. The UPC’s Estidama Department has put in a considerable amount of effort with Masdar and the construction team to ensure their commitment to optimizing sustainability and performance, and as a result, the multi-use building creates a unique environment that nurtures community and promotes resource efficiency. This project is a positive example of public-private sector collaboration.”

The IRENA Global Headquarters includes 1,000 square meters of rooftop photovoltaic panels to generate electricity, while solar-thermal water heaters supply 75 percent of the estimated total annual hot water usage. Sustainable design strategies are anticipated to reduce the building’s energy consumption by more than 40 percent and water by 53 percent, compared to a non-Estidama baseline building.

Fitted with sun-shielding fins, the outer skin of the buildings reduces solar heat gain without obstructing the view from inside. High-performance tinted glass and high-efficiency insulation are also used to optimize energy savings. Materials used during construction include locally sourced, low-carbon cement as well as recycled steel.

“The completion of the IRENA complex is another major milestone in the development of Masdar City,” said Dr. Belhoul. “The city’s momentum – its rate of growth over the last year – is undeniable. The strategic hub offers both business advantages and social opportunity, and companies and organizations of all sizes are moving in.”

In October 2013, the United Arab Emirates formally ratified the agreement granting permanent headquarters status to IRENA. The ratification confirmed the headquarters of IRENA in Abu Dhabi and granted the agency all the legal protections necessary that enable it to function as an international organization.