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Masdar Partners with Germany’s Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to Establish Facade Testing Centre in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 12 December, 2011 – Masdar today announced it is partnering with Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, one of the world’s leading research institutions, to build a facade test centre within Masdar City, the world’s first low carbon, low energy city based in Abu Dhabi. Fraunhofer’s Institute for Building Physics IBP and Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE will provide planning and supervision services for the facade test centre (FTC) build in close collaboration with Masdar City. Fraunhofer is one of the most important catalysts of the renewable energy industry in Germany and already operates a facade test centre for research and development in Germany.

The FTC at Masdar City is intended to assist designers and contractors in the selection of building materials to help reduce energy wastage in the UAE and the wider MENA region. It is part of Masdar’s endeavor to reduce energy demand by testing and quantifying the energy performance of integrated building facades, especially through strategic international partnerships and collaborations in renewable energy and sustainability. The project will widen the scope of Masdar City’s service offering, enabling partners and clients within the MENA region to take advantage of services delivered out of the FTC. The FTC is aimed to position Masdar City as a key service provider in consultancy services and generate revenue. The FTC will be based on the design and operation of Fraunhofer IBP’s full-scale facade test centre at its site close to Munich in Germany which boasts over 10 years of field experience and on Fraunhofer ISE’s know-how on development and optimization of building facades including facade integration of solar energy systems. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: “It is important for Abu Dhabi to host a dedicated facility of this stature, given its relevance to the integrated facades that need to be constructed in line with the emirate’s Estidama guidelines. Offering ratings on the material selection for buildings in Abu Dhabi assumes enormous significance and we are pleased to provide such a service in partnership with a world-renowned organisation.

“Sustainable building materials’ testing is a leading item on the Masdar City technology roadmap as we believe this is an area where we can provide technology leadership to the region. Partnering with Fraunhofer to design and operate the FTC will add technical credibility and third party endorsement. The FTC will provide a significant impetus to making Abu Dhabi the world’s benchmark for sustainable development.” Each test room within the building will be instrumented to enable calculation of the energy code values, thermal and light transmission properties and overall performance of each facade under test. Other tests will be offered according to the specific needs of the clients. Construction is expected to start by the first quarter of 2012.

Masdar City and Fraunhofer teams will provide services to industry in the selection of high performance building materials and facades, based on expertise gained by collaboration at the FTC.

Professor Klaus Sedlbauer, Director of Fraunhofer IBP, emphasised: “With this unique cooperation, we bring together Masdar’s experiences in building construction under their specific climate and Fraunhofer’s knowledge in testing and design at the technological edges. We are looking forward to support latest sustainable building solutions for the application in Masdar and the UAE.”

As a centre of excellence, the FTC will also provide direct links to programmes of facade research with Masdar Institute and host seminars in the field of building materials performance, facade design and compliance with energy codes. Dr. Steven Griffiths, Director of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute, said: “The FTC is a perfect complement to Masdar Institute’s established capabilities in materials science and evolving building technologies research program. We welcome this collaboration that will further develop the core building technologies capability at Masdar Institute.”

Masdar will develop in-depth knowledge of sustainable facade and building materials design, integration and performance measurement. This initiative adds to the work already being done by Masdar through The Future Build Program, an online portal for independently verified green building products. Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation, has expertise in building design performance and building energy performance testing which is expected to significantly benefit the region through the FTC.

Professor Eicke Weber, Director of Fraunhofer ISE, stated: “This is Fraunhofer’s first big step to facilitate the application of latest renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies at Masdar in the UAE and the GCC region. We are looking forward to further support the exemplary establishment of a sustainable energy system in the near future through our cooperation with Masdar.”

Fraunhofer already has an existing arrangement with Masdar which dates back to June 2009 when both organisations signed a memorandum of understanding for collaboration in renewable energy projects. Since then, Fraunhofer has provided contract services including the validation of the Masdar Energy Design Guideline (MEDG) codes and assessments for solar power projects.

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