Sustainability at Masdar City

Sustainability at Masdar city

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword at Masdar City. It’s a fundamental philosophy that governs every aspect of our design, development, operations, and business strategy. The leaders that envisioned Masdar City recognized that pursuing sustainability—and diversifying the UAE economy beyond oil and gas—was the only way forward.

What is Sustainability?

We use Earth’s limited energy resources every day to develop and power homes and offices, drive cars, use technology, and more. Living sustainably means stewarding those resources wisely and minimizing carbon emissions to help ensure that future generations can enjoy Earth’s resources as much as we do. We need to rethink cities and urbanization, which are contributing to a huge proportion of the world’s carbon emissions.

We need to rethink cities and urbanization, which are contributing to a huge proportion of the world’s carbon emissions. How?


Cities tend to be warmer than surrounding areas due to the “heat island effect” caused by the concentration of buildings, pavement, and limited green space. This leads to increased energy consumption due to the need for cooling systems such as air conditioning.

Air Pollution

Urban areas are plagued by air pollution from fossil-fuel powered vehicles and industrial activities that release pollutants.

Energy consumption

Cities are major energy consumers. Most energy still comes from fossil fuels, which contribute to carbon emissions and climate change.

Waste management

Cities generate large amounts of waste, which are transferred to landfill sites. This contributes to carbon emissions when not properly managed.

Water management

Urban areas are huge water consumers and face challenges related to water scarcity and flooding—particularly here in the UAE. Climate change exacerbates these issues through altered precipitation patterns and sea-level rise.

Loss of green spaces

Urbanization often leads to the loss of green spaces and natural habitats, resulting in reduced biodiversity and ecosystem services.


Urban areas are transportation hubs that rely heavily on personal transport, most of which still uses fossil fuels.

Cities have a vital role to play in addressing these climate change issues

That is exactly what Masdar City is doing. We’re building an urban community that is a solution to climate change rather than a contributor through an approach to sustainability that has three interconnected pillars:


The ability to sustain economic operations so that people and businesses can continue to prosper.

The ability to conserve natural resources and protect ecosystems to preserve our well-being.



The ability of a community, organization, or people group to continue to thrive.

Sustainability Standards

Masdar City is a local, UAE entity with international reach. We adhere to the highest international and local standards of sustainability:


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used and recognized green building rating system worldwide. It provides a framework for energy- and cost-efficient green buildings. A building may qualify for LEED Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Certified ratings.

Ratings are based on points earned by adhering to prerequisites and a credit system that addresses carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environment. Most of Masdar City’s buildings are rated LEED Platinum or Gold for design, construction, or operations and maintenance. Currently, we’re home to one of the largest clusters of LEED Platinum buildings in the world.

LEED also has a separate rating system that verifies net-zero achievements. LEED Zero-Energy recognizes that a building’s energy use has a net-zero balance over a period of 12 months.

Our lineup of distinctive LEED Platinum rated buildings include:

• The SIEMENS Building
• The IRENA Building
• Eco-Residences 1 and 2
• Central Residence
• The UAE Space Agency
• The Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council HQ


Estidama, the Arabic word for sustainability, is a sustainable urban planning program developed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, formerly known as Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, in the UAE.

It includes the Estidama Peal Rating System, which guides and rates the sustainability performance of communities, buildings, and villas. It is similar to LEED, but tailored to the unique climate of the UAE, with a particular focus on water conservation.

Buildings can be rated 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 Pearls based on scores in seven categories: Development, natural systems, livability, water, energy, materials, and innovation.

All new buildings at Masdar City are mandated to achieve at least a 3-Pearl Estidama rating.


The WELL certification system focuses on enhancing people’s experience within the built environment.
Administered by the International WELL Building Institute, WELL evaluates building features and operations that improve building occupants’ health and wellness, including air quality, water, food options, access to natural light, opportunities for physical activity.

Zero-Energy Certification

The International Living Future Institute’s Zero Energy Certification is recognized worldwide as one of the highest standards of energy performance. Projects with a Zero Energy Certification have demonstrated that they are highly efficient, harnessing energy from the sun, wind, or earth to produce their net annual energy demand.

The certification is awarded following a third-party audit of actual performance data over a 12-month period.

Three of our upcoming buildings are planned to achieve Zero Energy Certification:

• NZ1
• The HQ at Masdar City Square
• Co-Lab at The Link


WiredScore assesses and improves digital connectivity and smart technology in homes and offices globally. By evaluating digital infrastructure and certifying future-readiness, the company enhances connectivity for residents and workers, ensuring a smooth transition into the future. Buildings can qualify for a WiredScore certification of silver, gold, or platinum, for both office and residential spaces.

WiredScore certification for offices evaluates five essential aspects of a building’s digital capabilities, ensuring adaptability to future technologies and enhancing user experience. This certification benefits both building owners and occupants, enhancing the property’s digital infrastructure and establishing a reputation for providing modern office spaces.

Assessment areas includes:

• Resilience: Evaluate the robustness and security of your digital infrastructure, ensuring uninterrupted broadband connectivity for occupants.

• Future Readiness: Assess the flexibility and capacity of your digital infrastructure to accommodate emerging technologies, providing confidence in future adaptability.

• Mobile Connectivity: Examine mobile coverage throughout the property, including basements, and evaluate readiness for 5G technology.

• Provider Options: Review the availability of multiple high-speed fiber providers, fostering competitive pricing and ensuring backup options in case of service disruptions.

• User Experience: Evaluate the quality of digital connectivity throughout the building, including seamless WiFi coverage and uninterrupted video streaming.
Our lineup of WiredScore Platinum certified buildings include:

•Masdar City Square

•The Link


SmartScore empowers landlords and developers to construct cutting-edge smart buildings that prioritize exceptional user experiences, drive cost efficiency, meet high sustainability standards, and are fully future-ready. Buildings can qualify for a SmartScore certification of silver, gold, or platinum.

Tailored for offices, SmartScore certification offers clear guidelines on the criteria for smart building status, expert guidance on achieving certification, and tangible proof of the value it brings to assets. 
Our lineup of SmartScore Gold certified buildings include:

•Masdar City Square

•The Link

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