Following Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is the second cultural institution on Saadiyat to receive this prestigious environmental accolade.
Designed by the award-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, the museum is a tribute to the late President of the U.A.E., Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, featuring five towers reminiscent of the wing tips of the falcon, a powerful symbol of the rich cultural heritage of the U.A.E..
In a nod to Sheikh Zayed’s commitment to the environment, the museum has adopted a number of sustainable elements that have resulted in over 30 percent reduction in energy consumption, with space cooling, fans and the interior lighting contributing the largest savings, a 28 percent reduction in water use by utilising water reducing fixtures and fittings, and reduced flow duration for restroom faucets, expected to reduce annual water consumption by 53 percent.
Ali Al Hammadi, Deputy Managing Director of TDIC, said, “We are very pleased that the Zayed National Museum has earned a Three Pearl Rating Certificate, as strict measures had been taken to ensure that environmentally sustainable features will be present throughout the museum’s journey from inception to construction to operations. This not only reinforces our commitment to the environment, but also reflects the environmental vision and measures set out by our late President Sheikh Zayed, which we continue to implement to this day.” Once completed, the museum’s main building will be located beneath an earth mound, which reduces solar gains to almost zero, and vastly reduces structural heat transfer. It will also incorporate a range of passive design measures including natural ventilation and cooling from the wings, and an underground duct cooling system which pre-cools the air naturally. The museum will also feature a ‘Timeline Garden,’ in which only native and adaptive plant species will grow as a way of representing the various environments in the U.A.E. – coastal, desert, mountains and oasis. Visitors to the Timeline Garden will learn of the key moments in the life of Sheikh Zayed and his transformation of the U.A.E. through various installations in the garden.
Dr. Nathalie Staelens, Head of Environmental Services at TDIC, said, “The museum’s design not only utilises energy efficient methods but incorporates them in a unique, understated way that does not distract from its overall design. For example, the wing tip towers feature solar panels to allow for water to be heated in an eco-friendly manner. Once operational, all of the museum’s water heating will be provided through these solar panels.” Throughout its construction, all of the steel reinforcements used in the museum’s frame will include 25 percent recycled content, with at least 20 percent of the construction materials used to come from within 500 kilometres of the project’s site. This has a two-fold impact in that it reduces the impact from vehicle movements and also promotes the local economy. Another goal set by the museum’s construction team is to recycle or salvage at least 70 percent of all of the waste produced on-site. Waste glass, plastic, metal and paper will be sent to recycling facilities located within the Emirate.
By 2016, the Zayed National Museum will be located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, alongside Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, scheduled for completion in 2015 and 2017 respectively. These three premier cultural institutions will turn Saadiyat into a hub of world cultural exchange, positioning Abu Dhabi on the top of the world map.