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21 April 2024

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City breaks ground on the region’s first net-zero energy mosque

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By E247

Masdar City, an Abu Dhabi-based sustainability and innovation hub dedicated to creating a reference point for cities of the future, broke ground on the region’s first net-zero energy mosque on March 4. The new mosque will produce at least as much energy as it requires over the course of a year.

The groundbreaking ceremony at Masdar City was attended by senior executives from Masdar City, the Mubadala Investment Company, which is Masdar City’s shareholder, and M4, the project’s contractor. Representatives included Ahmed Baghoum, Masdar City’s CEO; Mohamed Al Breiki, Masdar City’s Executive Director of Sustainable Development; Dr. Bakheet Al Katheeri, the CEO of the UAE Investments Platform at Mubadala; Abdulaziz Huwail, the Director of Construction Management Services at Mubadala; and Samer El Masri, the Chairman of M4 Contracting.

“Of all of the net-zero energy projects underway at Masdar City, this one has particular significance for us given its focus on the community,” said Ahmed Baghoum, the CEO of Masdar City. “It will be a gathering place, a community hub, and a place of prayer, but it will also tell a powerful story about our commitment to caring for the earth. We hope it will help set a new standard for houses of worship in the region and beyond.”

“We are proud of this project as a unique opportunity representing our vital role in orchestrating the construction process from the ground up, in collaboration with Masdar City, ensuring the UAE's first net-zero mosque advances Abu Dhabi's infrastructure and community objectives,” said Abdulaziz Huwail, the Director of Construction Management Services at Mubadala Investment Company.
The 2,349 square-meter mosque will be Masdar City’s second mosque and accommodate 1,300 people for daily prayers, including Friday prayers. It is designed to use 35 percent less energy than international baselines due to Masdar City’s focus on passive design, an architectural approach that responds to environmental conditions rather than relying solely on technology. The mosque will produce at least 100 percent of its remaining annual energy needs using 1,590 m² of on-site PV panels.

The mosque will be constructed from rammed earth as a tribute to the very first mosques in this region, but also because rammed earth is a high-quality insulator that will help keep the building cool. A tiered window system on the roof will illuminate the space while also creating cross-breezes that will make air conditioning optional in the summer months.

As with all Masdar City projects, at least 70 percent of construction waste from the mosque project will be diverted from landfills, and local and recycled materials will be used wherever possible to reduce the cost and embodied carbon emissions. Using low-flow water fixtures, drought-resistant landscaping, and recycled water for irrigation will reduce water use by 55 percent.

The building design is on track to receive a Zero-Energy rating from the International Living Future Institute, a LEED Platinum rating, which is the highest international green building certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, and Estidama 4-Pearl rating, the UAE’s highest green building certification. It will also target a WELL Gold rating, which prioritizes occupant well-being.

Masdar City inaugurated its first house of worship, the Estidama Mosque, a smaller facility with capacity for 335, in January of this year. Part of the newly opened Masdar Park, it is on track to be the first LEED Platinum mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Masdar City also recently completed the country’s first net-zero energy commercial building and has two additional net-zero energy commercial and residential buildings under construction: Masdar City Square’s HQ building, which will be complete later this year, and The Link’s Co-Lab building, a unique net-zero energy shared working and living space, will be complete in 2025.