Most Influential Projects 2020

47 Al-Shera’a


For raising the net-zero bar on government buildings

When the Dubai Energy and Water Authority (DEWA) commissioned a new headquarters last year, it signaled the construction would not be a standard government building project. The agency proclaimed that the structure, called Al-Shera’a, will be the “tallest, largest and smartest” zero-energy government building in the world. Piercing the skyline like a glass-and-steel sail, the AED$1 billion project is meant to serve as a visual declaration that the UAE’s largest city is a trailblazer of sustainability and innovation.

The 2-million-square-foot (185,800-square-meter) structure, slated for completion in 2022, will be equipped with enough photovoltaic solar panels to generate as much or more energy than the building will use. Project leaders are designing the building to achieve a platinum LEED rating and a silver rating by WELL Building Standard.

“By building Al-Shera’a, we establish a global benchmark for buildings that achieve a balance between development and the environment to protect the right of future generations to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment,” said DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer in a statement.

Project partners include Dutco Balfour Beatty and a consortium of Ghantoot Transport and General Contracting and Ghantoot Gulf Contracting.

Light It Up

Al-Shera’a will have more than 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and integrated into the building, generating over 6,500 megawatt hours a year of renewable energy.

Remote Control

Sophisticated building management systems will allow automated control over the building’s air conditioning and lighting.

Bridge to the Future

A covered bridge will link the building to the Dubai Metro, encouraging the use of public transportation, which will further cut DEWA’s carbon footprint.

Made in the Shade

To keep the central courtyard cool, a sail design with multiple small openings will provide shaded areas, allowing natural light to stream through—without the associated heat.

Power to the People

A smart app will allow employees to book parking spaces and meeting rooms.


Related Sponsors and Organizations

  • Dubai Energy and Water Authority
  • Dutco Balfour Beatty
  • Ghantoot Gulf Contracting
  • Ghantoot Transport and General Contracting