Construction begins on Masdar and International renewable energy agency headquarters complex

Masdar today 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 multi-use 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 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 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 1,000 square-metres of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels – supplying renewable electricity to its tenants – and reduce water usage by more than 50 per cent compared to a typical Abu Dhabi building.

The headquarters will be a three building, 32,000 square-metre 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.

“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.

Organizations, 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,” added Dr. Al Jaber.

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

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, a 50-year-old global company responsible for building the Emirates Towers in Dubai, London’s new Wembley Stadium and the Central Park tower in Western Australia, among other projects worldwide. “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.

“Masdar is at the forefront of the new energy economy,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “We make bold decisions about the technologies we adopt and push the boundaries of sustainable development. We remain agile in how we invest—making sure we progress the sector, while also encouraging technology advancement.”

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 and sustainably sourced timber, among others.

The headquarters complex concept was designed by architectural firm Woods Bagot.

“Woods Bagot was absolutely delighted to be appointed by Masdar to design its dedicated new headquarters,” said Ross Donaldson, group managing director of Woods Bagot. “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.

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Combining passive and intelligent design, Masdar City integrates best practices in sustainable development. A living laboratory, the City’s infrastructure provides a real-time test bed for companies implementing new energy solutions in an urban environment – helping accelerate the research and development process, as well as commercialisation.

Masdar City is a special economic zone providing business benefits such as 100 per cent foreign ownership, zero income and corporate taxes, and no currency restrictions. Companies looking to invest in the region’s growing clean technology and renewable energy market can also take advantage of the “One-Stop Shop” – a streamlined approach to doing business, making it easy for companies to set up operations in Abu Dhabi.