Masdar City has secured the LEED Gold O+M (operations and maintenance) rating for the corporate
headquarters buildings of IRENA, Masdar City, and Tabreed, meaning that each building owned by
the Masdar Green REIT is now rated LEED Platinum or Gold.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings, provided by the US Green Building
Council, are the international standard for sustainable real estate. Buildings can be LEED Certified,
LEED Silver, LEED Gold, or LEED Platinum based on a point scoring system. Ratings may be
awarded for sustainable design, sustainable construction, or sustainable operations and
While Masdar City is home to dozens of LEED-rated buildings, including one of the largest clusters
of LEED Platinum buildings in the world, the new Gold ratings are Masdar City’s first for O+M.
“This incredible accomplishment for Masdar City is not only a formal recognition of our sustainability
work, but also demonstrates our vision and leadership within the industry,” said Mohamed Al Breiki,
the executive director of sustainable real estate at Masdar City. “Masdar City is always striving to
deliver the best experience through improved building performance and occupant health and
comfort. A LEED O+M certification affirms the choices we make day in and day out to minimise our
carbon footprint and ensure a more sustainable future for everyone.”
The new LEED certifications also have an important impact on the Masdar Green REIT.
“The Masdar Green REIT has always been ahead of most other green REITs internationally in terms
of the proportion of LEED-rated buildings in its portfolio,” said Francisco Galan, Masdar City’s
director of sustainable development. “These final three LEED ratings, bringing us to 100 percent, are
a significant milestone, making it an even more attractive and profitable opportunity for green
The LEED O+M certifications follow a year-long evaluation of data on water and energy use, air
quality, cleaning materials, and pest and waste management. Employees were surveyed to measure
both their enjoyment of the building and their day-to-day sustainability practices, including how they
commute to and from work.
Following an evaluation of the data gathered from the 12 months of monitoring, as well as the
employee surveys, the US Green Building Council acknowledged Masdar City’s strong performance
in waste management in particular given its comprehensive recycling programme that encourages
building occupants to sort general waste, recyclables, and food waste rather than sending all waste
to a landfill.
The IRENA and Tabreed buildings were previously certified by the Estidama Pearl Building Rating
System, the UAE’s local green building rating system. At the time of completion in 2014, the IRENA
building was the first commercial building to receive four pearls under Estidama. The Tabreed
building design received three pearls under the Estidama Pearl Rating System and was praised for
its low cost per square foot for a building of that rating. The minimum for most new buildings in Abu
Dhabi is one pearl. Government-funded buildings must be designed and built to at least two-pearl
The oldest of the three certified buildings, Masdar City’s headquarters, also known as the Incubator
Building, was completed in 2012, before the Estidama rating system was introduced. Despite its age,
the building’s performance surpassed the others.
“Older doesn’t necessarily mean less sustainable,” noted Mohammed Abdelrazik, Masdar City’s
director of asset management, who oversaw the certification process. “This achievement goes to
show that paying attention to building operations, implementing sustainable management plans, and
engaging with building occupants can significantly enhance sustainability even without retrofitting or
Dual sustainability ratings
Since 2018, all new buildings developed by Masdar City have dual sustainability ratings – at
minimum, LEED Gold and Estidama three pearls.
“This practice is an illustration of our growth trajectory,” said Chris Wan, the associate director of
sustainability and corporate social responsibility at Masdar City. “In Masdar City’s earlier days, we
were committed to building the Estidama rating system, which was designed to champion the unique
sustainability needs of our region, with emphasis on water conservation. LEED is the international
standard, with slightly more focus on energy conservation. Achieving both ratings shows we lead in
green urban development at an international level, and that we are committed to the highest possible
standards of sustainability.”
The LEED Gold O+M ratings will be valid for two years and are eligible for renewal following real-
time monitoring of energy and water use, waste management, transportation practices, and human
experience, including how employees feel about daylight levels, sound levels, and air quality in the
Masdar City holds all its buildings to the same high operational and maintenance standards,
regardless of certification, and is planning to roll out a real-time digital monitoring system in the
coming months that will demonstrate how building occupants’ day-to-day activities impact
Masdar City is a ground-breaking sustainable urban community, a world-class business and
technology hub, and a “green-print” for cities that want to be part of the solution to climate change.
The Masdar City Free Zone is a diverse, innovative, and ambitious group of over 1,000
organisations that benefit from comprehensive business support as well as the city’s rich ecosystem.
Masdar City hosts a growing residential community and two generations of autonomous vehicles.