Project Overview

Tilal Al Ghaf is Majid Al Futtaim’s flagship mixed-use community in Dubai. Spanning over 3 million square metres, the community will provide walkable neighbourhoods featuring high-quality villas, townhouses and apartments. These are connected by pathways, natural, open spaces and parks, complemented by vibrant retail, dining, leisure and cultural options.

The Sales and Experience Centre is a special landmark structure situated in the heart of Tilal Al Ghaf Community. Its floating crescent shaped roof and raised ground plane provides a beautifully transparent gathering space, set within a rich green landscape. The curved roof form incorporates photovoltaic panels and is orientated to best protect the interior whilst maximising capturing the sun’s rays to generate electricity.

The amount of renewable energy produced onsite makes The Centre a net positive building which has driven the project to target a Zero Energy Certification with the International Living Futures Institute. Materials and fittings have been sourced locally, as much as possible, to reduce embodied energy, and were selected to achieve the WELL Building standard requirements.  Combining all the sustainability aspects of the building, it is on track for achieving a BREEAM Excellent certification.


  • The Tilal al Ghaf Sales and Experience Center is the first net positive building in Majid Al Futtaim’s Portfolio, in line with MAF’s Net Positive Target.
  • The building is on target to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, a WELL ‘Silver’ rating and is targeting the ILFI Zero Energy certification.
  • During construction, priority was given to materials that were covered by recognized Environmental Product Declarations (EDPs) and/or had its processes in compliance with ISO 14001.
  • Passive design features used include a curved roof with PV panel installations, full height façade/curtain wall elements for internal daylighting and large roof overhangs to minimise solar heat gain.
  • 100% of the renewable energy used in the project comes from PV panels installed on the roof (onsite generation) and the excess is fed back to the grid.

Approaches Used

Data measures reported and/or disclosed on:

Above the minimum requirements from MAF’s own sustainability strategy, the project Tilal Al Ghaf Sales and Experience Center is seeking multiple Green Building certifications, such as BREEAM Excellent, a WELL Silver rating and Zero Energy by ILFI.  The construction activities were completed in accordance with the BREEAM Requirements for Responsible Construction Practices under Checklist A1 which cover criteria on safe and adequate access, good neighbour, environmental awareness and a safe and considerate working environment were followed for the project.

In addition, as part of Majid Al Futtaim’s (MAF) Assurance commitments, the project reports its energy and water consumption to the external auditors on a quarterly basis and this data is assured annually by a third party. 

Reducing whole life carbon:

During construction, priority was given to materials that were covered by recognized Environmental Product Declarations (EDPs) and/or had its processes in compliance with ISO 14001. The contractor was required to have OHSAS and ISO 14001 certifications and track the energy, water and carbon emissions for the project during the entire course of construction.

The specified products under the categories below held a valid ISO 14001 certification at the time of its procurement.

  • Timber or timber-based products
  • Concrete or cementitious
  • Metal
  • Stone or aggregate
  • Clay-based
  • Gypsum
  • Glass
  • Plastic, polymer, resin, paint, chemicals and bituminous

Besides this, at least nine material categories procured had EPDs compliant with ISO 14025, ISO 21930 or EN 15804.

A life cycle assessment was carried out to assess the embodied energy of the project. Using the life cycle assessment at an early stage of the design process meant the project team could increase the available options to select materials with low carbon impacts and incorporate material selection into the design process. The assessment has considered the impact of materials throughout the lifetime of the project (i.e. during material manufacturing, energy and water consumption of the entire project operational stage, maintenance, and end-of-life).

Reducing operational energy use:

The Center is the first net positive building in Majid Al Futtaim’s Portfolio, in line with MAF’s Net Positive Target. The project addresses sustainability in a very holistic way. Details of the features considered in the project include the following:

  • Passive design features:


The Sales & Experience Centre was designed to be located next to the Show Village units and water feature/landscaped park area defined within the Tilal Al Ghaf masterplan. As such, the building’s orientation has a curved roof with PV panel installations facing southwards to maximize solar gain to units. The glass façades were orientated to minimize solar heat gain together with the large roof projections on all side, with the lower office accommodation positioned to avoid excessive heat gain during the day. The West façade also has external deep horizontal louvres to address low winter sun, with all elevations having manifestation applied to provide additional general shading/glare control.

The orientation of the building would ultimately determine the level of solar heat gain through glazed elevations. This is particularly so with the large expanse of curtain walling on the three elevations. It is with this in mind that the roof overhang is extended to a 2.5 to 3.0m cantilever to help shade these glazed elevations.

Building fabric:

The project is constructed as a reinforced concrete framed structure substructure and shear walls to the rear accommodation area, with the superstructure typically formed as a structural steel frame. Typically glazed proprietary façade system with thermally insulated blockwork/RC walls to rear accommodation, clad with natural stone units.

Glazing is typically thermally broken aluminium framed double glazed units with an argon filled cavity and a solar control glass outer pane. On the rear elevation facing the Show Village, aluminium framed curtain walling provides visual connection from the Office to the landscaped areas outside.

Roof construction consists of a membrane applied over insulation, supported on metal trapezoidal linear trays and the primary steel frame beams. An inverted roof on reinforced concrete slab to the lower rear accommodation area, consisting of 100mm thick rigid insulation with gravel ballast and separating membrane on hot-melt bituminous roofing membrane laid onto screed to falls.

Typical elemental U-values are as follows:

Walls u-value 0.42 W/m2K
Doors/Glazing u-value 1.9 W/m2K max
Doors/Glazing Shading co-efficient 0.25 max
Doors/Glazing light transmittance 0.1min
Roof u-value 0.30 W/m2K

In addition to this, shading screen panels have been designed to the rear office, to provide further shading to glazed elements. Doubling up as privacy screens, these panels are designed to be on rails and therefore movable along the width of the garden elevation curtain wall, allowing the occupants to position shading where it is needed most.

Daylight strategy:

Daylighting to internal spaces of the project is to be via full height façade/curtain wall elements. This ensures that these internal spaces sufficiently benefit from natural light, whilst the specifications of the glazing units, roof overhangs and external shading screen all contribute towards minimizing the risk of glare and visual discomfort.

Ventilation strategy:

The project is mechanically ventilated to provide a comfortable environment with a high level of indoor air quality for the building’s occupants.

Indoor air units have been designed to provide a continuous supply to the building to promote a high indoor air via filtering of the incoming air and reducing sick building syndrome. The OAU’s distribute fresh air to positively pressurise the building to minimise uncontrolled infiltration.

  • Energy Efficiency:

The project is designed with high performance solar glazing with in-built shading elements and large roof overhangs to minimize solar heat gain and minimize cooling loads, besides a number of other Energy Efficiency Measures as listed below.

An energy model was carried out to analyse the building energy performance from the design stage and has been updated at the end of construction. The energy model results show a 25% reduction over ASHRAE 90.1-2013, without considering the renewable energy contribution.

A summary of the Energy Efficiency Measures implemented can be found below:

List of Energy Efficiency Measures – EEMs 
Energy Reduction before Solar  25% Reduction over ASHRAE 90.1-2013
HVAC Type  VRV, Underfloor air-conditioning
Lighting type  100% LED
Lighting Controls  Occupancy Sensors
Renewable Energy Source  PV Panels on building roof and associated car park roof
Metering  Sub-metering for PV generation, Lighting, Plugloads and HVAC
  • Low & Zero Carbon Technologies:

Tilal Al Ghaf Sales and Experience Centre has been designed with sustainability at the forefront, incorporating large arrays of photovoltaic solar panels to supply more than 100% of total energy demand, making it a net energy positive building.

Increasing renewable energy supply:

100% of the renewable energy used in the project comes from onsite generation. The building is served by Solar Photovoltaics in its entirety through the PV panels installed on its roof and connected car parking shading structure, providing together more than 200% of total annual energy demand. The amount of renewable energy produced onsite makes the project a Net energy positive building which has driven the project to target a Zero Energy Certification with ILFI.

The energy generated onsite serves the building itself and any additional power is fed back to the grid.

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