Zero waste? Masdar thinks so

Last week's Cityscape exhibition and convention in Abu Dhabi was so successful that it was extended an extra day to accommodate exhibitors.

COMMENT, Projects

Last week's Cityscape exhibition and convention in Abu Dhabi was so successful that it was extended an extra day to accommodate exhibitors.

It was obvious from the moment that the doors opened on Tuesday that the exhibition hall would be jam-packed with developers, investors, contractors and project managers comparing notes as they got a glimpse of the new projects underway.

Even developers from Russia showed off their ambitious Moscow projects.

I saw some pretty big crowds gather throughout the day to see what Dheeraj and East Coast LLC, Dubai Sports City and Durrat Al Bahrain had to offer.

And over at the Al Fara'a Group, J.R. Gangaramani, president and executive chairman of Al Fara'a, spent some time with Construction Week discussing the ambitious Image Residences tower project that is expected to break ground in downtown Jebel Ali in about four months.

The most intriguing project, however, is Masdar's $22 billion ‘zero carbon, zero waste' city that is due for final completion in 2016, but expects its first residents to move in sometime next year. The project features high-density living that includes a small university.

Can a city that is expected to be home to thousands of residents and commuting workers truly generate zero carbon and zero waste? It's an understatement to say there are sceptics out there who believe that Masdar can't deliver

But spend a few minutes with Khaled Award, director of the Property Development unit for Masdar, and he will have you convinced.

Awad has been selling investors and environmentalists on the idea that within established boundaries Masdar City can be the most environmentally-friendly community in the world -at least by the standards set by Masdar.

Awad focuses on three areas: materials, energy and transportation. He acknowledges that he has little control over materials to build the city. What to do with the creation of concrete, its delivery to the site and the waste it creates?

Well, the answer is not much. But within Masdar's control, Awad said the company can deliver on the other two areas.

This can be achieved by using renewable energy from a wind farm and a solar power plant. Transportation for commuters is provided by electric buses that move people who use car parks around the perimeter of the city.

As the great poet Meat Loaf says, "two out of three ain't bad." But the question is: Can Masdar convince the sceptics?

Rob Wagner is the editor of Construction Week.

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