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Why Masdar is the world’s most sustainable city

TAGS: Commercial
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With Cityscape Intelligence dedicating the month of April to sustainability, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi takes our spot for our project of the month feature for successfully pioneering a blueprint for how cities can combine rapid urbanisation while reducing their energy and water consumption.

Cities are in crisis. As they scramble to green their infrastructure, find solutions to both urban sprawl and urban density, they continue to aggressively look at transforming their urban landscape.

Current statistics say that by 2030, more than 60% of the world’s population, 5 billion people, will be living in cities, and in order to cope with that rapid increase in the global population, cities have no choice but to become sustainable.

SO, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO DO THIS?

In 2008, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi tested this theory and began to develop the world’s most sustainable low-carbon city. Today, the energy required by the city is supplied by renewable sources.

“Masdar City now offers a complete innovation ecosystem housing pioneering R&D and pilot facilities that nurture and implement ground-breaking solar energy, energy storage, green building, and urban sustainability projects.

To enable the City to reach its full potential, Masdar has established sustainability benchmarks to ensure the delivery of measurable environmental social, and economic benefits. Masdar City’s template for a sustainable city also showcases the effective deployment of passive design that is tailored for arid, desert regions,” says Masdar City on its website.

DESIGNED TO OFFER NATURALLY COOLER PUBLIC SPACES

Designed to capture prevailing winds and offer naturally cooler outdoor public spaces, especially in the UAE’s sweltering summers, Masdar City has enabled its buildings to consumer 40% less energy and water and is also powered by clean energy generated from a 10 MW solar power plant on-site and 1MW solar rooftop system.

“Harnessing the sun’s rays, the plant produces 17,500MWh of clean electricity annually and diverts 7,350 tonnes of carbon emissions per year,” according to Masdar City.

MASDAR KEY FACTS

  • Total site area: 6,000,000m², while the gross floor area of Masdar City alone comprises of 4,000,000m²
  • Developer: Masdar-Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and Mubadala Development Company
  • Architect: Foster + Partners, the architect behind the project. Mott MacDonald is responsible for designing the city's infrastructure

BUILDING SUSTAINABILITY

  • Home to one of the Middle East’s largest clusters of high-performance buildings
  • Building act as a real-time laboratory to monitor and study how cities use, conserve and share resources
  • Combining passive and intelligent design, the buildings’ energy and water demands are 40% lower than average
  • Buildings must meet a minimum Estidama Pearl Building
  • Rating System certification of three pearls (comparable to LEED Gold)
  • Buildings are constructed with low-carbon cement and 90% recycled aluminium, in addition to other locally sourced and verified materials

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WALKABLE SMART CITY: LIVE, WORK, LEARN, PLAY

  • Home to more than 450 global and local companies and featuring a growing selection of restaurants and cafés.
  • Masdar City is a walkable and a pedestrian friendly community in which people can live, work, learn and play.
  • Integrates a smart network of transportation options to create an accessible, liveable community
  • Designed to encourage and promote low-carbon public transportation
  • Transportation options include Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and in the future, Metro Line and Light Rail Transit (LRT) to Abu Dhabi

TENANTS: INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHTS

  • Etihad Airways
  • General Electric
  • International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Headquarters
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Schneider Electric
  • Siemens

MASDAR CITY'S SUSTAINABLE R&D PROJECTS

• Masdar Solar Hub: Photovoltaic Test Centre, CPV Testing Facility and Masdar Institute Solar Platform

• Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) / Food and Biofuel

• Electric Energy Storage Solutions Hub

• Masdar City Eco-Villa Prototype

• Smart Home Energy Management System (SHEMS)

• Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) System

• Masdar City Construction Waste Management

• Masdar Institute for Science and Technology Field Station

• Feasibility of District Cooling powered by Geothermal Energy for Masdar City

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