Masdar: A Smart, Sustainable City Brings Net-Zero Innovation

Masdar City’s First Rammed-Earth Mosque Will Enable Net-Zero Emissions and Brings a Natural Resource Construction Solution to a Smart, Sustainable City

The infrastructure of tomorrow will not serve the needs of a sustainable future. Over the years, energy companies and real-estate experts have delivered new and efficient ways to heat homes, reduce the costs of doing so, and even limit reliance on fossil fuels. 

This is something that we can expect to accelerate even faster in the coming years in the lead up to the 2030 deadline set by the Paris Climate Accord. The build environment is one of the key areas in which organisations and authorities look to reduce climate impact and smart technologies tend to be at the forefront of this—smart-enabled solutions that help reduce the energy consumption of homes, buildings and other infrastructure. 

We see today that this isn’t exclusive to homes or offices, but the entirety of infrastructure, uncompromising of society's needs. 

Masdar City announced in early January the plans for a net-zero mosque, which supports the needs of citizens in the Abu-Dhabi-based city. However, despite this being a first-of-a-kind construction, the fact it’s a mosque is not the most intriguing part. The building will be constructed using a rammed earth technique, which is firstly more natural than most conventional building methods. 

What makes rammed earth construction sustainable? 

The use of earth materials is attributed to a low environmental impact. As soil and other ground materials are known to sequester some carbon, rammed earth itself soaks up carbon emissions and makes use of natural resources in abundance. 

Rammed earth is also heralded as an efficient construction solution, which uses minimal energy to heat or cool. For the United Arab Emirates (UAE), natural cooling is one of the best traits, which combats the highs of extreme heat.

Rammed earth is also known to stand longer, which can be seen in a number of structures built thousands of years ago. This method of construction requires walls to be built thicker, which is one of the longevity traits, alongside the natural characteristics, such as breathability. 

The mosque featured in the company’s news will be 2,349 square metres with a capacity for 1,300 worshippers to attend. On the efficiency said of things, the building will produce 100% of its energy using 1,590 square-metres of on-site solar panels. 

Net-zero building brings energy efficiency to the UAE

As a result of this region’s first net-zero energy mosque, Masdar City hopes to continue adopting these solutions for buildings of worship, which can also be seen as a low-impact method for more sites. 

“We have designed and created several net-zero energy projects, but this one has particular significance for us and for me personally, particularly given we’re announcing it during COP28,” says Mohamed Al Breiki, Executive Director of Sustainable Development at Masdar City

“It will be more than a gathering place, a community hub, or a place of worship. It will take people on a cultural, spiritual, and environmental journey, serving as a powerful symbol of our commitment as responsible stewards of the earth. This mosque is our gift to the community.”

The first-of-a-kind mosque will also adhere to the Zero-Energy rating from the International Living Future Institute and comply with the LEED Platinum rating, which is the highest possible green building certification awarded by the US Green Building Council

Lutz Wilgen, Masdar City’s Head of Design, comments on the inspiration behind it. 

“Touching the earth lightly and helping others do the same is the very heartbeat of Masdar City,” says Wilgen. 

“Integrating that heartbeat into a mosque was a unique challenge we were honoured to take on. After months of collaboration and consultation, we’ve created a design that seamlessly combines beauty, cultural significance, function, and sustainability.”


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