| Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon Neutral, Car Free City|
Abu DhabI. United Arab Emirates
January 14, 2008
President George W. Bush today saw a model of Masdar City - the world's first zero carbon,
zero waste, car free city. Plans call for the green, sustainable city to
open by 2009 in the desert sands of this federation of Gulf states that
have built their wealth on oil and natural gas.
After viewing a model of the proposed city at the Emirates Palace Hotel,
President Bush said, "We just heard a briefing about how they're going to
construct a city based entirely upon renewable energy. It will be an
opportunity to see what works and what won't work, and an opportunity to
share their technology with others."
"I appreciate the commitment to conservation and to the environment, and
the leadership you've shown here," the president said before leaving for
Dubai and Saudi Arabia on the last leg of his Middle East visit that began
January 9 in Israel.
President George W. Bush tours the Masdar Exhibition with Crown
Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, left, and Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice. (Photo by Eric Draper courtesy the White
The electricity for the six square kilometer Masdar City will be generated
by photovoltaic panels, while cooling will be provided with concentrated
Drinking water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination
plant. Landscaping within the city and crops grown outside the city will
be irrigated with grey water and treated waste water produced by the
city's water treatment plant.
Ground breaks for the construction of the city in early 2008 and is
scheduled to open late in 2009.
A model of the Masdar City will be unveiled on January 21, at the World
Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, billed as the world's largest
conference and exhibition on future energy solutions, innovations,
investments, and policy.
Masdar City will host the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology;
world-class laboratories and research facilities; commercial space for
clean-tech companies; light manufacturing facilities and a carefully
selected pool of international tenants who will invest, develop, and
commercialize advanced energy technologies.
Design and operation of Masdar City must deal with the realities of Abu
Dhabi's sub-tropical, arid climate where temperatures range from a low of
around 10° Celsuis (50° F), to a high of around 48° C (118° F) in the
The city is part of the Masdar Initiative, Abu Dhabi's investment in the
exploration, development and commercialization of future energy sources
and clean technology solutions.
"The world needs a portfolio of solutions," said Dr. Sultan al Jaber, CEO
of Masdar. "It can no longer be hydrocarbons or renewables. It is a
combination of both."
The Gulf real estate sector must address sustainability issues if it wants
to deliver the US$500 billion of developments planned for the next seven
years in the region, Dr. al Jaber has said.
The global conservation organization WWF will work with Masdar to ensure
the city meets standards of sustainability which include specific targets
for the city's ecological footprint.
The cooperation will take place through the "One Planet Living™" program,
a global initiative launched by WWF and environmental consultancy
Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, director of WWF International's One Planet Living
initiative, said, "Today Abu Dhabi is embarking on a journey to become the
global capital of the renewable energy revolution. Abu Dhabi is the first
hydrocarbon-producing nation to have taken such a significant step towards
The principles of the Masdar Target include zero carbon, zero waste, and
sustainable transport through facilitating and encouraging the use of
public transport, vehicle sharing, supporting low emissions vehicle
Sustainable materials will be used and construction specifications are
based on high recycled materials content within building products, Forest
Stewardship Council certified timber, and bamboo. Energy used to
manufacture materials will be tracked and the reduction of embodied energy
within materials and throughout the construction process will be
Sustainable food will be plentiful in Masdar City and retail outlets will
meet targets for supplying organic food and sustainable and or fair trade
The sustainable water target specifies that per capita water consumption
will be at least 50 percent less than the national average and all waste
water will be re-used.
All "valuable" wildlife species will be conserved or relocated with
positive mitigation targets, according to the Masdar target.
Cultural sustainability will be encouraged so that the architecture will
integrate local values, fair wages and working conditions for all workers
as defined by international labor standards will apply, and facilities and
events will be provided for every demographic group.
Dr. al Jaber said, "We are pleased to be able to work with One Planet
Living to make our vision a reality."
"Masdar City will question conventional patterns of urban development, and
set new benchmarks for sustainability and environmentally friendly
design," the Masdar CEO said. "The students, faculty and businesses
located in Masdar City will not only be able to witness innovation
first-hand, but they will also participate in its development."
U.S. companies and universities will participate in the building and
operation of Masdar. The U.S. company CH2M HILL will be the program
manager for the first phase of the development and will be responsible for
technology integration and for aligning the efforts of the designers,
contractors, and third parties with program goals and standards.
"Masdar is inspiring for its vision, boldness and leadership," said CH2M
HILL chief executive Ralph Peterson. "It promises to showcase and
accelerate the development and adoption of technologies in renewable
energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, waste management and water
"As innovations and applications created by the Masdar initiative take
hold, cities around the world will surely benefit, making a great idea a
truly transformative idea," Peterson said.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and the Abu Dhabi Future
Energy Company signed an agreement in February 2007 that will allow MIT's
Technology and Development Program to help develop the Masdar Institute of
Science and Technology, the first institution dedicated to research-driven
graduate programs in the region.
"MIT faculty and staff will provide advice, scholarly assessment and
assistance in connection with the establishment of the Masdar Institute,"
said MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay. "This includes working with ADFEC to
develop collaborative research and create indigenous academic programs, to
create a strategy for commercializing Masdar Institute's research results
and to build the institute's organizational and administrative
The Masdar Institute plans to admit its first postgraduate students in Abu
Dhabi in the summer of 2009.
"The Masdar Institute will serve as the nucleus of the Masdar Initiative,
feeding it with talent and innovative technologies to enhance economic
development and promote new industries using renewable energy and
resources in the emirate and the region," said Masdar CEO Dr. al Jaber,
who is also the ADFEC. chief executive.
Pooran Desai OBE, co-founder of BioRegional and Technical Director of the
One Planet Living Communities program, said Masdar would be the largest
and one of the most advanced sustainable communities in the world.
"The vision of One Planet Living is a world where people everywhere can
lead happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the Earth's
resources," he said. "Masdar gives us a breathtaking insight into this
positive, alternative future."