Reducing solar gain


The urban heat island effect can be particularly devastating in hot, humid regions like the Abu Dhabi desert, and the management of solar gain was a significant design hurdle when planning Masdar City.

Residential buildings like these, which house students at the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology, are defined by their wave-like, terra cotta-colored facades. The building’s shape provides shade from the sun, preventing solar gain on the building walls, and permits air to pass through to cool the balconies. Aside from the windows, the rest of the facade is highly sealed and insulated, and wrapped in 90 percent recycled aluminum sheeting.

Mary Mazzoni

Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist with a passion for storytelling and sustainability. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, Earth911, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and the Daily Meal.

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian with an interest in climate resilience, clean tech and social justice. You can contact her at