Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan takes a tour of the Irena headquarters accompanied by Dr Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of Irena, at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi last night. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

The inauguration of the permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Wednesday night in Masdar City marked an important milestone on the UAE’s journey, a top official said.
“The journey … which began with our first proposal to host the organisation seven years ago,” Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE minister of foreign affairs, commented about the Irena headquarters.  
Shaikh Abdullah along with Irena Director General Adnan Z. Ameen inaugurated the new headquarters in the presence of high-ranking officials and foreign diplomats from across the globe.
The ceremony highlighted the history and achievements of the agency since its foundation in 2009, while recognising it as the latest milestone in the global clean energy movement.
Shaikh Abdullah further commented: “Hosting Irena in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the UAE’s commitment to expanding access to sustainable, clean energy both domestically and internationally. We look forward to partnering closely with Irena and countries around the world to support the further development of renewable energy and clean technologies,” he said.
Efficient building

The Irena headquarters building is the first in the UAE to achieve a four-pearl Estidama construction rating – an Abu Dhabi Government-certification system stressing energy, water and carbon efficiency.

Located at the geographic centre of sustainable Masdar City, the 32,000 square metre complex consists of three interconnected buildings, which work together to conserve energy and water, and create shared space.
Addressing the ceremony, Adnan Z. Ameen said: “We are delighted to finally be home in our new global headquarters, an extraordinary building that is a paragon of sustainability throughout the region.”

He said its advantageous location in Masdar City, and in Abu Dhabi, positions the headquarters as a nerve centre for renewable energy action and knowledge for the future.

Reem Al Hashmi, Minister of State, Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, and Anthony Mallows, director of Masdar City, also addressed the ceremony.

UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who could not attend the ceremony, commented: “This is a proud moment for Masdar as we welcome Irena, the first intergovernmental organisation headquartered in the Middle East, to its new home in Masdar City.”
“This ecosystem of innovation is the perfect setting for IRENA’s mission to advance the deployment of renewable energy worldwide. As the world, more than ever before, seeks access to safe, secure and clean energy, the inauguration of the Irena headquarters building is a testament to Masdar City’s leadership as a growing hub for the research and development of renewable energy technologies,” Al Jaber said.

The new headquarters enables Irena to lead by example in operating from a building that is a symbol of sustainable design and development.
The Irena director general added : “This is an exciting time to be working in renewable energy.Renewables have reached an age of maturity where costs plummet, investment climbs, and world leaders recognise the necessity of scaling up deployment. Irena’s new headquarters are a symbol of the world’s turn towards renewables,” said Ameen.

Building facts:
•    Due to passive design and smart energy management systems, the building demands 42% less energy than global energy-efficiency standards.
•    Solar water heaters supply 75% of the building’s hot water demand.
•    The building demands approximately 50% less water than similar conventional office buildings in Abu Dhabi.
•    The 1,000 square metre PV (Photovoltaic) rooftop system will produce 305,000 kWh (kilowatt hour) of electricity annually. In addition, the solar hot water system will be equivalent to 27,850 kWh. Altogether, the renewable energy systems output of the building will cover more than 10% of the building energy demand.
•    The building self-generates more than 10% of its total energy demand and sources the rest from Masdar City, which produces much of its energy from an adjacent 10 MW (megawatt) solar farm.
•    The building is twice as airtight as Estidama (sustainability parameter of Abu Dhabi Government certification)  requires, reducing the site’s overall energy consumption.
•    The building’s air conditioning system recovers 75% of the energy released as exhaust air, and then harnesses it to cool incoming fresh air.