WWF and the government-owned Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company have launched a Sustainability Action Plan for Masdar City, which will begin construction this year.

The zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city aims to exceed the 10 sustainability principles of the One Planet Living initiative developed by WWF and environmental consultancy BioRegional.

Electricity and cooling for the six-kilometre square city will be provided by solar energy, while water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination plant.

Greywater and treated wastewater will be used for watering gardens and parks, as well as crops grown outside the city.

To meet the One Planet Living principles, virtually all waste will have to be diverted from landfill, buildings will have to be constructed from sustainable materials, and traders will have to meet targets for supplying organic, Fairtrade or sustainably-sourced food.

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, director of WWF International’s One Planet Living initiative, said the organisations behind Masdar City are confident the development will achieve its goals.

He told edie: “The technology is already there, the approach has been tried and tested – albeit in an experimental way – but we think it is realistic and we think that, given the levels of investment, it will happen.”

He said residents of the United Arab Emirates currently consume resources equivalent to almost six planets, and the authorities were keen to change this, with Masdar City expected to consume the equivalent of just 0.8 planets.

Mr Jeanrenaud said: “One of the things that I think is really exciting about this is that the Crown Prince has shown real initiative and realised that we can’t wait for the oil to dry up to start thinking about this. He has really taken an exemplary lead.”

Masdar City is set to become home to 1,500 businesses and 50,000 residents when it is completed in 2015, with the first residents expected to move in from 2009.

It is part of the Masdar Initiative, Abu Dhabi’s investment scheme exploring, developing and commercialising future energy sources and clean technology solutions.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie