What is Masdar City?
Masdar City is a new city operating off 100% renewable energy and has been designed to create the most sustainable lifestyle possible, located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The streets and buildings are strategically placed close to one another to provide additional shelter from the scorching temperatures in the Middle East. The purpose of Masdar City is to provide a lifestyle for those who wish to live sustainably (no cars, 100% renewable energy, lower water and energy consumption, etc) and to provide a sneak peek into what the future of green development could and should look like. The size of the city in 2016 was 6 km².
Does green living improve the quality of life?
Living in a green urban development like Masdar City has shown to improve quality of life in the following ways. Your overall health is significantly better due to a far greater lowering in air pollution and toxins, your mental health increases with less noise pollution from large transportation and no cars also means an increase in physical activity. Additionally, trees/green spaces increase outdoor activities for people, resulting in additional fresh air; brilliant for your mental and physical health.
The future population in Masdar City:
Masdar City is projected to reach around 50,000 occupants in future years with 40,000 of those people either being students or professionals as well as 1,500 eco businesses calling the city home. The city will try and mainly focus on luring in young students with its futuristic technology and higher education around sustainable development which is seen in the city itself. All stages of the city’s construction should be completed by 2025. An additional 50,000 people are expected to be commuting to Masdar City each day for work in addition to the perminent residents.
Why was Masdar City built?
Masdar City was built to focus strongly on greenhouse gas emission reduction projects and to show that a completely sustainable city is possible. Masdar City was also developed to create ultra-large-scale renewable energy projects and to prove a large urban development like a city can rely on purely renewable energy like solar panels etc.
How is Masdar City sustainable?
• All energy used comes from solar panels, wind turbines, waste-to-energy and photovoltaics.
• All infrastructure in the city that homes and businesses use is connected to a green data service.
• Trees and shrubs are spread across the development providing additional green space.
• The buildings have been placed close to one another providing shade for people when walking, keeping the ground level much cooler.
• No large transportation like cars, busses or trucks drastically reducing emissions.
• Thermal energy which helps cool water to significantly reduce the temperature in the office buildings.
• All lightbulbs are LED (light-emitting diode) which are far more energy-efficient.
• Construction waste is sent to an on-site recycling facility which then uses this recycled content in other Masdar City buildings and courtyards.
• The materials used have a far lower impact on the environment with low-carbon
cement and 90% of all aluminium is recycled.
• Energy and water consumption is 40% lower than the average based on statistics
from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Airconditioning engineering standards).
• The Irena HQ (a renewable energy agency) in Masdar City has a passive house design and smart-energy management that helps it consume 64% less energy than a typical building in Abu Dhabi.
• Autonomous electric transport underneath the ground to help move people from point A to B in a zero-emissions way.
Who created the city?
The city was designed by Foster and Partners and built by Masdar. Foster and Partners is the largest architecture firm in the United Kingdom (UK) specialising in integrated design and architecture with its headquarters (HQ) located in the capital of England (London). Masdar which is often referred to as Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company is a large renewable energy company that was founded back in 2006 as a subsidiary state-owned enterprise. The word Masdar means ‘Source’ in Arabic.
The cooling technology:
Masdar city is located 17 kilometres (11 miles) outside of Abu Dhabi in the Middle East and as many of us know, it is a very hot part of the world. However, Masdar City has cleverly designed the development to decrease the temperature within the city by
a big margin.
Masdar City has been capable of reducing the temperature of courtyards, buildings, sidewalks, etc by almost 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) because there are no hydrocarbons or cars, the buildings are strategically placed close together to provide an abundance of shade and the orientation of the city is north-east to southwest minimising the amount of sunlight and increasing the amount of shade. This all plays a huge part in reducing the overall temperature of the city, however, there is also a huge structure towering above the rest at 45 meters in height called the ‘wind tower’. The basic idea of the wind tower is to suck warm air into the system, where it then produces cool air to the ground level.
Let’s go more in-depth into how the wind tower operates:
At the top of the structure, there are louvers on each angle. When the wind is blowing, one of the louvers will open up to collect the air moving in that direction while the other louvres remain shut to ensure no wind escapes. Once the wind is collected, it is hit by mist jets helping cool down the warm air. Once this quick stage is complete, the cool air is sent down a tunnel pointing towards the floor where it then reaches the ground level and helps cool the surrounding buildings, people, plants, etc.
What does Masdar City have?
Masdar City has many things including:
• International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters (IRENA HQ).
• Etihad Eco-Residence.
• Siemens Middle East headquarters.
• Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.
• Majid Al Futtaim My City Centre Masdar.
• The Knowledge Centre.
• Leonardo Residences.
• Krypto Labs.
• The Accelerator Building.
• Tech Park.
• Eco-Villa Prototype.
• Saint-Gobain Multi-Comfort Home.
• Solar PV Plant.
• Wind Tower.
Has Masdar City helped push for more sustainable development?
While Masdar City hasn’t had any direct link to being the exact reason more sustainable/green development has been increasing over recent times, it has certainly played a large part in providing the world with a sneak peek into what new development should look like and proof
that it can be done. Masdar City has not only provided governments, companies, etc with an insight into what new cities must look like, it has also shown how we can improve many smaller-scale projects like housing, water and energy consumption, recycling and sustainability/green technology education. It also shows how we can research, innovate and develop new things in a more planet-friendly way. Thanks to Masdar City, there has also been more of a focus on green development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with projects like ‘The Line’ in Saudi Arabia for example.
Masdar City is a true example of what future development should look like and how it
should be done. This city has solved almost all large environmental problems that are
caused in large urban developments, without making life difficult for the population. If
anything, Masdar City has shown to be quite beneficial to people and provide a really high quality of life. Based on the ever-growing need for green development and the brilliant developers who are building the city, I have no doubt we will soon see the completion of what is arguably one of the most modern, clever cities in the world and hands down, the most sustainable.