Stunning Solar Building Will Generate More Power Than It Needs


The Masdar Headquarters building will produce more power than it needs (an energy positive building). In fact, the solar roof (one of the largest in the world) will be constructed first, and it will power the construction of the rest of the building. The video link on this page has a great view of the sun-infused interior.



The 1.4 million square foot building was designed by Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

It will serve as the centerpiece of Masdar City, which will end up being about a $22 billion development in Abu Dhabi (the capital of United Arab Emirates).


Masdar Headquarters will have the lowest energy consumption per square foot, it will feature the largest photovoltaic system and the largest solar thermal driven cooling and dehumidification system. The building will also have integrated wind turbines. It will consume about 70% less water than a typical mixed-use building of its size.


Construction of Masdar City commenced with a formal ground-breaking ceremony on February 9, 2008. The City will be constructed over seven phases and is due to be completed by 2016. Masdar’s headquarters is part of phase one and will be completed by the end of 2010.



The design competition for Masdar’s headquarters was managed by the Louis Berger Group and began with a field of 159 participants, which was narrowed down to 15 architecture and design firms. The criteria for selection of the 15 included building functionality, water and wastewater efficiency, indoor environmental quality, zero carbon emission, carbon
footprint reduction and firm experience. Four global leaders in sustainable architecture and design were then chosen to submit final proposal.

Link: Press Release

Via: Jetson Green and Mad Architect

27 thoughts on “Stunning Solar Building Will Generate More Power Than It Needs”

  1. A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed. R3
    A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed.
    To accelerate the implementation of renewable electric generation with added incentives and a FASTER PAYBACK – ROI. (A method of storing energy, would accelerate the use of renewable energy) A greater tax credit, accelerated depreciation, funding scientific research and pay as you save utility billing. (Reduce and or eliminates the tax on implementing energy efficiency, eliminate increase in Real estate Taxes for energy efficiency improvement). Tax incentive and rebates have to be tripled.
    In California, you also have the impediment, that when there are an interruption of power supply by the Utility you the consumer cannot use your renewable energy system to provide power.
    In today’s technology there is automatic switching equipment that would disconnect the consumer from the grid, which would permit renewable generation for the consumer even during power interruption. Energy storage technology must advance substantially. “Energy conservation through energy storage”.
    New competition for the world’s limited oil and natural gas supplies is increasing global demand like never before. Reserves are dwindling. These and other factors are forcing energy prices to skyrocket here at home. It’s affecting not just the fuel for our cars and homes, it is affecting food prices and it’s driving up electricity costs, too. A new world is emerging. The energy decisions our nation makes today will have huge implications into the next century. We must expedite the implementation of renewable energy.
    A synchronous system with batteries allows the blending of a PV with grid power, but also offers the advantage of “islanding” in case of a power failure. A synchronous system automatically disconnects the utility power from the house and operates like an off-grid home during power failures. This system, however, is more costly and loses some of the efficiency advantages of a battery-less system.
    We’re surrounded by energy — sun, wind, water. The problem is harnessing it in an economical way.
    Jay Draiman, Northridge, CA

  2. They are building something pretty amazing and some how you can still turn this article around to this should be us. You have other things to worry about, like how i can come down there and buy a house for $10-$20 .

  3. This is truly a wonderful project! It is also a very bright investment in the future of the country. My congratulations to the country’s leaders!

    This blog lacks strict administrator to delete ‘abusing’ comments.

  4. I wonder how many centuries/millenia worth of surplus energy production it would take to repay the cost of the energy expended in the initial construction of, and materials used in the building?

    What a joke that this sort of thing gets away with appropriating the term “sustainable”!

    Anyway, foresight is foresight, I guess – it will be a nice place for a lucky few to hang out in once the oil starts to run out in ernest. Though they better pick their skirts up if they want to finish it in time.

  5. What a great design! I love the sustainable practices in the urban city construction business and this is a perfect example of success marrying sustainable practices with practicality and client requirements. I personally am excited for my own self about the Sustainable House I saw on the Science Channel that gets the house to be “energy-free”.

    Check it out here

  6. Not sure how the comments jumped from marvel to personal attacks. In any case, this Chicago-based architect firm and UAE should be equally applauded for vision that doesn’t just get put in a drawer as a “nice idea”.

  7. And to think that there are people living in the world who are poor, starving, and homeless..*shudder*

    The UAE should help the US pay off some of our national debt, wouldn’t be too big of a push for a few trillion from ’em, eh?

  8. The Guy Above Me Sux.

    Typical American. You think everyone should kick your overweight, depression headed ass. Fact is, the World is set to boycott you.

    And the building is awesome. Inspiring and refreshing.

  9. Khaled- Abu Dhabi

    Four-dollar-gallon-gas, well I dont need to reply to ur racist comment which has no basis at all, but you need to enlighten yourself more by reading about other nations. First of all, If you are mad because u r going to pay 4 dollars per gallong sometime soon, this is because of ur crappy economy. Price of oil will continue to rise as long as ur dollar is losing its value. Most Oil producing countries in our region have pegged their currencies to the US dollar for so long which means our oil revenues have decreased almost 40% because of the weak dollar and therefore we have to sell it at high prices to make up for the weak dollar. By the way, most countries in the region, including my country United Arab Emirates ( UAE) is considering to depeg the US dollar some time soon because we have suffered from inflation big time for the last 5 years because of the poor performance of the US economy. I hope US won’t exercise its power to stop us from doing so as it usually did to police the world , cuz it means another bad hit to the used-to-be strong dollar.

  10. the future home of the most powerful people in the world- brought to you by the Bushies etal who’ve refused to seek out significant alternative energy sources and continually fund the oil cartel and create unneccessary profits away from the rest of the planet.

  11. Isn’t it ironic that a country that doesn’t have to go begging for oil is jumping ahead of those that must in technology? It would be so good to see the USA take the reins and start to lead the world in a positive way again.

  12. Why can’t we do something like this here? I believe that our building codes must be rearranged and new ones established to allow for this kind of innovation to occur. I have designed and built a home that uses less than 1/12th of the gas to heat and cook, than most other homes—It is just passive solar, and didn’t cost extra to build it.

  13. Greetings ,,,,

    This is excellent news ! I am very interested in seeing such developments taking place and proving their economic value.

    Just to share some background info, I was involved in the subject of ‘smart buildings’ since the early nineties.

    As you are probably aware, one of the distinguishing characteristics of ‘smart buildings’ is their ability to optimize energy consumption used in lighting, HVAC requirements, imbedded electronic systems, lifts, escalators, survelliance systems, voice and data networks, fire alarms, emergency lighting, and so on so forth.

    If we add the new trends of the use of alternative energy sources, renewable energy sources, green technologies, ….. then this gives you another reason for my interest in this news item.

    The important question that I would like to raise and hopefully I get some answer for it

    Is the use of such technologies at this mass scale feasible and justifiable ? or is it a pure technology show regardless of associated costs ?

    Is there any feasibility study which shows the TCO/ROI figures over the estimated lifetime of the building (estimated at 100 years) ?

    Thanks a lot and hoping to hear back from you soon.


    Mohammed Thiab
    MV Consulting


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