Few would associate running on a treadmill with helping fight global warming. But for residents of Masdar city, the carbon-neutral development being built near the capital, they will go hand-in-hand.
Cityscape Dubai heard yesterday that treadmills in the gymnasium at the Masdar Institute will generate electricity for its air-conditioning system.
Gordon Falconer, the property manager at Masdar, said the plan was one of a number of solutions to reduce the city’s carbon output. Other measures include banning car use and using environmentally friendly materials in building.
"Everything in the city will have a green story," Mr Falconer told an audience at the World Architecture Congress, running alongside Dubai’s largest property show.
Besides striving to provide a model for carbon-neutral living, the US$22 billion (Dh80.96bn) project, being built in phases at a site close to Abu Dhabi International Airport, will act as a hub for clean technology research and manufacturing.
Developers at Masdar say the city will be reliant only on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, which will reduce the amount of energy used per person.
Khaled Awad, director of Masdar’s property development unit, said: "If you can bring down the energy demand, you can afford anything on your roof."
Masdar buildings will require 70 per cent less energy than traditional structures, he said. This means that whereas a traditional city of the same size would require a power plant with a capacity of 800 megawatts, the one serving Masdar should need only 230mw.
So far, the only challenge to Masdar meeting its objective was its laboratory buildings, which require air-conditioning throughout the day and run complex equipment.
"Most of our labs will consume more energy than the masterplan anticipated," he said. One way to solve the issue could involve capturing the large amount of heat generated through the operation of lab equipment. This heat can then be reused to generate energy.
A project of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be developed in phases. When complete in 2016, it will be home to 90,000 people. The city will use several times less water than is the norm in the country, and aims to produce no waste whatsoever.
People will be encouraged to walk or use the city’s rapid transit system, which will consist of electric, driverless vehicles, each carrying between four and six passengers.