Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) headquarters

Woods Bagot's built the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) headquarters in Masdar City in 2015. This office building comprises 7 floors and has in total a built-up area of 32065 m². The IRENA HQ design prioritises the use of passive design strategies, whereby the building has demonstrated a greater than 50% reduction in the cooling demand. The passive design strategies include enhanced thermal performance of the building envelope, an integrated shading strategy, and maximum daylight and views. The building demands 42% less energy than global energy-efficiency standards due to passive design and smart energy management systems.

Project info

Construction phase
New construction
Building type
Non-residential building
Detailed building type
Net floor area
32065 m2
7 stories
Construction type
Steel Frame
Original construction year of the building
Project contact
Tarig Tag Alasfia
Contact email address

Project team

Masdar (Abu Dhabi future energy company)
Woods Bagot
Energy efficiency consultant(s)
Burohappold engineering

Building Rating and Certifications systems

Rating and certifications systems
Pearl Rating System for Estidama

Building Envelope

External walls

0.2 W/(m²*K)


0.2 W/(m²*K)

Openings and windows

Overall u-value window
1.4 W/(m²*K)

Basement floor

Description of construction

Technical Building Systems

Ventilation system

Type of ventilation
Mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery
Special low-power air handling units provide cold air to the ventilation system. The AHU are fitted with high-efficiency rotary thermal wheels for sensible and latent heat recovery. Up to 75% of the energy in the exhaust is recovered.

Space cooling system

Primary space cooling system
The cooling system is supplied by the water-based district cooling network of Masdar city. Special low-power air handling units provide cold air to the ventilation system of the building.

Space heating system

Primary Space heating system
District heating

Water heater system

Primary water heater system
Solar Thermal collector on the roof
The building incorporates a solar thermal system, which supplies 75% of the building’s hot water demand.

Lighting system

Primary lighting system
LED (Light emitting diode lamps)

Shading devices

Type of shading system installed
Static (fix) shading systems as part of the building architecture (e.g. Maschrabiyya, porch roofs, pergolas)
Permanent shades installed outside the windows maximise the light entering the room while minimising the heating effect in the room. All buildings in the city have been oriented along the direction of typical wind flow. This helps to keep the temperature of the city noticeably lower than the outside, which in turn helps to significantly reduce air conditioning–related power consumption.


Total module area
1000 m²
PV rooftop system produce 305,000 kWh annually

Other technical building systems

PV rooftop system produce 305,000 kWh annually on an area of 1000 m²

Final Energy Demand

Total specific final energy demand
121 kWh/(m²*a)