Reading Time: 4 minutes
Masdar City, a world-class technology and innovation hub and a pioneering sustainable community in Abu Dhabi, along with its consulting partners Woods Bagot and Faithful+Gould, has advanced its contribution to the UAE Net-Zero by 2050 Strategy with the groundbreaking ceremony of its latest development – the Masdar City Square (MC2).
The MC2 development covers an area of 29,000 square meter and a Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 50,000 square meter, extending Masdar City’s commitment to net-zero, sustainability, technology, and wellbeing by nurturing an expanded community of businesses operating in harmony with the environment. Work on the development will begin this year and is scheduled for completion in 2024.
The development includes seven single- and multi-tenant office buildings and a parking facility, all reflecting innovative design. Six of the buildings will be built to the highest green construction specifications while the MC2 Headquarters building will be Abu Dhabi’s first net-zero energy office building, meaning it will use no more energy than it produces by integrating energy efficiency-focused design and systems and renewable energy technologies. This contribution to net-zero is of great importance to the UAE, which in 2021 became the first country in the Middle East and North Africa region to commit to achieving net-zero emissions through its UAE Net-Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. The MC2 Headquarters building will be immediately identifiable by its innovative solar photovoltaic panel canopy.
Speaking at the occasion of the groundbreaking, Ahmed Baghoum, Acting Executive Director, Masdar City, said: “Masdar City is already home to one of the world’s largest clusters of green buildings with Estidama and LEED certifications. With the completion of MC2, and its seven new green buildings, including Abu Dhabi’s first net-zero energy office building, we are further demonstrating how urban development can be both economically and environmentally sound and sustainable. Masdar City is proud to serve as a testbed for sustainable urban development and we look forward to seeing how MC2 enriches Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, and the UAE.”
The groundbreaking was attended by key representatives from Masdar, Masdar City and development partners, including Ahmed Baghoum, Acting Executive Director of Masdar City and Abdul Aziz Bin Shafar, CEO of ASGC.
Six of the MC2 buildings will be 4-Pearl Estidama, LEED Platinum, and WELL Gold certified. LEED Platinum is the highest certification provided by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, the most widely used program to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. WELL Gold is the second-highest certification provided by WELL, the world’s first building standard that focuses exclusively on human health and wellness. Estidama Pearl Rating System is the green building rating system developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, with 1-5 pearls awarded depending on how many sustainability points the project achieves.
The innovative buildings in MC2 add to Masdar City’s legacy as a regional pioneer in net-zero and green construction. In 2017, Masdar City announced the completion of its Eco-Villa Project, the UAE’s first net-zero energy villa. The 405-square meter villa was the first in the country to achieve a Four-Pearl rating, using around 72% less energy and 35% less water than a conventional villa of the same size in Abu Dhabi, mitigating 63 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
MC2 will be located adjacent to Masdar City’s existing development centered around the Mohammed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and the Siemens Middle East Headquarters. MC2 will incorporate the existing International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Headquarters and will include courtyards, a daycare, an amphitheater plaza, shaded pedestrian boulevards, a fitness center, a meditation room, and more.
Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has been awarded a project management consultancy services contract, while global architectural and consulting firm Woods Bagot will handle design and construction supervision consultancy for the MC2 project. Woods Bagot previously designed the IRENA Headquarters in Masdar City.
Masdar City, which opened in 2010, is one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments and the only planned and approved R&D cluster in Abu Dhabi. A 10 MW solar array and rooftop panels provide the City with 1 MW of solar energy to meet some of its power needs. All buildings within Masdar City are mandated to achieve at minimum a 3-Pearl Estidama rating, meaning they are designed to reduce energy consumption by at least 40% and reduce water consumption by at least 40% compared to provided standards.
The City is home to over 1000 companies, dedicated to developing innovative technologies across the sectors of renewables, energy storage, artificial intelligence, health, space, and mobility. These include, among others, IRENA, the UAE Space Agency, Siemens, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) and its two-pillar entities, Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and ASPIRE, Tabreed, Honeywell, and the MBZUAI. Masdar City is also home to the leading health technology company G42 Healthcare (G42), which is known for introducing one of the world’s largest Covid-19 testing and diagnostics laboratories.
Masdar City provides a dynamic ecosystem of education, R&D, innovation and technology, and a unique strategic base through which companies can test new technologies and build their partnerships locally and globally, all while spearheading the innovations to realize greener, more sustainable urban living.