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Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center



Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center – Al Ain - UAE


Chalabi Architekten und Partner ZT GmbH


60 Mio. EUR


Gross floor area 15,000 m²

Building certification:

Highest building certification level for LEED TM (Platinum) and Estidama (5 Pearls)

Project description:

With about 60. Mio EUR investment, die Arab Emirates have realized an outstanding example of exceptional design, function and energy efficient technology to provide sustainability and high user comfort under extreme climatic conditions. In addition to the complex spatial structure, latest state of the art was demonstrated in the region, particularly in the areas of cooling, ventilation, energy supply and water efficiency. The visitor centre for Al Ain Zoo had been credited with the highest possible levels of LEED Platinum and Estidama 5 Pearl certification and on 08.05.2018 been recognized with the AUSTRIAN GREEN BUILDING AWARD by bmvit, WKO and Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus.

Technically the project includes the first solar thermal absorption cooling system in the UAE with a cooling power of 400 kW and collector area of 1180m2. Roof top PV of about 150 kWp with a gross area of 1,500 m² of tempered glass and with an optimized carriage system for ventilation and cooling provides a great share of the electricity demand. The building demonstrated the first pre-cooling ventilation in the UAE, the first use of activated concrete core cooling of an area of about 100m2 and the first use of adiabatic cooling towers. Overall the smart cooling concept is based on high thermal mass that is partly activated, building insulation, ground pre-cooling, heat recovery and solar absorption cooling. Water savings adding up to 80 per cent are achieved by a 170 m³ stormwater storage, a vacuum toilet system, greywater recycling and TSE irrigation.

AIT has supported the technical design and certification process with simulation studies of the building and building technologies. Therewith it was possible to find the best solution out of a wide range of technical options that grant a high amount of energy efficiency and comfort during real operation.


US Green Building Council
Austrian Green Building Award