Masdar City

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Helping plan urban sustainability powered by energy of the future.

Masdar City is aspiring to be one of the most sustainable cities in the world. At full build-out, Masdar will house 40,000 residents and hundreds of businesses, integrating the full range of renewable energy and sustainability technologies across living and working communities.


  • The Challenge

    With ambitious and broad sustainability objectives, the planning team selected RWDI to review the City’s Master Plan. They wanted detailed design guidelines based on RWDI’s technical analysis of key planning elements including renewable energy creation and performance, energy use reduction, carbon and air quality emissions, as well as wind and thermal comfort, noise and vibration, ventilation and dust impacts.

  • Our Approach

    We began with consultation and technical analysis for various components of the design of the urban environment, including detailed existing and future climate reviews and analysis, evaluating the energy performance of the city and delivering the Masdar Energy Design Guideline (MEDG), offering daylighting design guidance, evaluating the feasibility of renewable energy technologies and the influence of the environment on their performance (heat, dust etc).

    Other RWDI contributions included design guidance and modeling on outdoor thermal comfort and heat island effects, design of the undercroft personal rapid transit system’s (PRT) passive ventilation system (wind tower assisted), evaluated acoustical impact from different sources within the urban setting, and analyzed the dispersion of exhaust gases and pollutants within the city. Our experts also provided microclimate and engineering guidance for the architectural design of the wind tower including development of the control strategy.

  • The Outcome

    Ultimately, RWDI’s work contributed to a city that encouraged wind penetration while maintaining solar shading, provided energy demand reduction strategies and reduced the local heat island impacts. We identified weakness in the masterplan and recommended solutions to those, as well as provided the City with additional information for future decision-making on topics such as estimates of PV maintenance schedules, material selection and acoustical design.