The mosque plans to obtain a Zero-Energy rating from the International Living Future Institute and a number of other certifications Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: Masdar City, an Abu Dhabi-based sustainability and innovation hub, on Monday announced the region’s first net-zero energy mosque.

The mosque will break ground in 2024, with the completion date to be announced in the coming months.

Green features

The 2,349 square-meter structure, with a capacity for 1,300 worshippers, will produce at least 100 per cent of the energy it needs over the course of a year using 1,590 square metres of on-site PV (photo voltaic) solar panels. The mosque’s total energy requirements were reduced by 35 per cent compared to international baselines using “passive design”, an architectural approach that responds to environmental conditions.

The mosque’s main structure will be made primarily of rammed earth, and a series of tiered windows on the roof will allow the space to be illuminated with cascading natural light patterns. Outdoor colonnades will offer shade from the sun as worshippers transition from the outdoors to the inner space.

As with all of their new projects, Masdar City will ensure that at least 70 per cent of construction waste is diverted from landfills and use local and recycled materials wherever possible to reduce both costs and carbon footprint. Low-flow water fixtures, drought-resistant landscaping, and the use of recycled water for irrigation will reduce water use by 55 per cent.

Certification targets

In addition to a Zero-Energy rating from the International Living Future Institute, the building design will target a LEED Platinum rating, the highest international green building certification awarded by the US Green Building Council, as well as Estidama 4-Pearl, the UAE’s highest green building certification. It will also be designed to achieve a WELL Gold rating, which prioritises occupant well-being.

Mohamed Al Breiki, Executive Director of Sustainable Development at Masdar City, said: “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.”

‘Unique challenge’

Lutz Wilgen, Masdar City’s head of design, said: “Touching the earth lightly and helping others do the same is the very heartbeat of Masdar City. 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.”

“Each design choice is multi-faceted,” said Wilgen. “The rammed earth provides outstanding insulation, helping to keep hot air out and cool air in while also fostering a sense of place and belonging. It’s also cost-effective. A series of tiered, operable windows on the ceiling will help inspire wonder and reverence for worshippers while also creating a natural ventilation system that will make air conditioning optional in the winter months. This holistic approach, integrating environmental, social, and economic sustainability, is the essence of our methodology.”