29 March 2010

Abu Dhabi building carbon-neutral city

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The world's first zero-carbon city is being built in Abu Dhabi and is designed to be not only free of cars and skyscrapers but also powered by the sun

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is the last place you would expect to learn lessons on low-carbon living, but the emerging eco-city of Masdar could teach the world.

At first glance, the parched landscape of Abu Dhabi looks like the craziest place to build any city, let alone a sustainable one.

The inhospitable terrain suggests that the only way to survive here is with the maximum of technological support, a bit like living on the moon.

The genius of Masdar - if it works - will be combining 21st Century engineering with traditional desert architecture to deliver zero-carbon comfort. And it is being built now.

The architects are turning the desert's greatest threat - the sun - into their greatest asset.

They have built the biggest solar farm in the Middle East to power the city and to offset the inevitable burning of diesel and baking of cement in construction.

They are also experimenting. One project involves a circular field of mirrors on the ground, all reflecting towards a tower in the middle.

(BBC News)

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