Construction begins on Masdar and International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters complex

Monday, 22 October, 2012

Masdar has announced the awarding of the design and construction contract for its new headquarters complex, which will also house the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The headquarters will be one of the most advanced, sustainable, multiuse complexes in the United Arab Emirates. It will be the cornerstone of Masdar City - the special economic zone, clean-technology cluster and low-carbon city in Abu Dhabi. Completion is set for summer of 2014.

The Masdar and IRENA headquarters aims for a four-pearl certification under the Estidama Pearl Building Rating System, one of the strictest energy efficiency and sustainability standards in the world. It will be fitted with 1000 m2 of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels and reduce water usage by more than 50% compared to a typical Abu Dhabi building.

The headquarters will be a three-building, 32,000 m2 complex. The buildings will share a community courtyard, connecting offices to spaces to shop, dine, walk and experience the modern, sustainable lifestyle exemplified by Masdar City.

An artist’s rendering of the Masdar headquarters.

“The award of this contract marks a major milestone in the development of Masdar City,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the CEO and Managing Director of Masdar. “The buildings integrate cutting-edge technologies in energy efficiency, green building and water conservation. We remain committed to the growth of Masdar City as a technology cluster, enabling companies to set up Middle East operations to support the achievement of regional renewable energy targets and the development of clean technologies.

“Higher education and research are at the core of Masdar City, enabling companies to partner with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology to accelerate the development of technologies. Organisations such as Boeing, Siemens, Global Green Growth Institute and IRENA are already working with us and capitalising on the opportunities offered by the technology hub.”

IRENA, currently situated in Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi, advised on the design of its custom headquarters to meet its organisational requirements.

“It’s only fitting that the headquarters of IRENA - dedicated to the sustainable use of renewable energy - be located in one of the most sustainable buildings in the world,” said Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA. “The building is a shining example of how we can meet our energy needs today while preserving the earth’s resources for tomorrow.”

Dr Sultan Al Jaber and Adnan Amin lead the groundbreaking ceremony of new headquarters.

Brookfield Multiplex was awarded the design and construction contract.

“We are thrilled to be selected and even more honoured to begin construction of one of the most sustainable developments in the world,” said Ashley Muldoon, CEO of Brookfield Multiplex. “Our innovative strategies and holistic approach will significantly reduce the buildings’ potable water consumption, energy demand, waste to landfill and embodied carbon emissions from materials.”

The headquarters adheres to updates from the 2011 redesign, which was made to meet market demand and allow for the integration of newer technologies.

Construction of the complex will source materials from Abu Dhabi’s sustainable supply chain. The building uses green materials including low-carbon cement, high-recycled-content aluminium, recycled steel, sustainably sourced timber and more.

The headquarters complex concept was designed by architectural firm Woods Bagot. Ross Donaldson, Group Managing Director of the company, said the project “presented an irresistible challenge to create a highly efficient, yet aspirational workplace environment, embodying Masdar’s vision for sustainability, delivered in a commercially viable way”.

The headquarters complex will be located alongside other key developments within Masdar City. Developments include the expansion of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, construction of the first commercial building and the final stages of construction of the Middle East headquarters of Siemens.

Masdar City will be a living laboratory; its infrastructure providing a real-time test bed for companies implementing new energy solutions in an urban environment and helping accelerate the research and development process as well as commercialisation.

Companies looking to invest in the region’s clean technology and renewable energy market can take advantage of the ‘One-Stop Shop’ - a streamlined approach to doing business which makes it easy for companies to set up operations in Abu Dhabi.

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