Masdar City, an innovation and sustainability hub based in the UAE, is introducing the region’s inaugural net-zero energy mosque. The objective is to establish a new benchmark for places of worship in the area, combining innovative design principles that integrate environmental conservation with cultural heritage and community engagement.
Mohamed Al Breiki, the executive director of sustainable development at Masdar City, expressed the unique significance of this project, especially in the context of the COP28 announcement. The mosque, spanning 2,349 square meters with a capacity for 1,300 worshippers, aims to generate at least 100 percent of its required energy annually through 1,590 square meters of on-site PV panels. Utilizing passive design, the structure has successfully reduced its overall energy needs by 35 percent compared to international standards.
The main construction material for the mosque will be rammed earth, providing excellent insulation and contributing to cost-effectiveness. Tiered windows on the roof will not only illuminate the space with natural light patterns but also enhance ventilation, making air conditioning optional in winter months. The design incorporates outdoor colonnades for shade, creating a seamless transition from the exterior to the sacred inner space.
Lutz Wilgen, Masdar City’s head of design, emphasized the multi-faceted nature of each design choice, addressing environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Masdar City commits to diverting at least 70 percent of construction waste from landfills, utilizing local and recycled materials to reduce costs and carbon footprint. Water conservation measures, such as low-flow fixtures and recycled water for irrigation, will decrease water usage by 55 percent.
The mosque aspires to achieve the Zero-Energy rating from the International Living Future Institute, a LEED Platinum rating, Estidama 4-Pearl (the UAE’s highest green building certification), and a WELL Gold rating prioritizing occupant well-being. Construction is scheduled to commence in 2024, with the completion date to be announced in the coming months.
This mosque project is part of Masdar City’s broader initiative to implement net-zero energy solutions. The recently unveiled NZ1, the country’s first net-zero energy commercial building, is joined by ongoing construction projects, including Masdar City Square’s HQ building (to be completed in 2024) and The Link’s Co-Lab building (a net-zero energy shared working and living space, set to be completed in 2025).