The Irena (International Renewable Energy Agency) headquarters in Abu Dhabi is a Grade A office building, offering a total floor area of 32,000 square metres.

The focus of the design was to create a highly sustainable commercial building that exemplifies the overall development of the Masdar City sustainable development and embodies the Estidama ‘four pillars of sustainability’ (social, environmental, economic and cultural). The design and development of the headquarters was addressed with a holistic approach, ensuring where possible the integration of the building systems and the incorporation of green-building best practices.

The passive design strategies include improved thermal performance of the building envelope, an integrated shading strategy and maximised daylight and views.

Four pearls

Key features in the design of the building that help it operate sustainably and have enabled it to achieve the first ever Four Pearl Estidama rating for both design and construction include:

  • Reduction in energy demand by more than 50 per cent when compared with benchmark Abu Dhabi commercial office buildings, facilitating further reductions in carbon emissions associated with building operation
  • Design and installation of 1,000 square metres of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels, supplying electricity to the building
  • Potable water use reduction of more than 54 per cent through the use of high-performance flow and flush fixtures
  • Diversion of more than 93 per cent of construction waste from landfill, reducing the long-term environmental impacts associated with construction waste collection, transport and disposal

The Irena headquarters demonstrates how a truly integrated design process, with all project stakeholders engaged, has yielded an exemplar building, setting a new standard for commercial Grade A office space in the Middle East.