Natural resources save energy at Al Barari development


The natural cooling properties of water and vegetation provide a green solution to keeping temperatures down at a new development in the desert just outside Dubai.

The residential complex Al Barari is the creation of the Zaal family and architects 10design are working on the latest phase, along with horticultural experts Greenworks.

The result is a microclimate up to five degrees cooler than the surrounding countryside – and an influx of wildlife from the surrounding landscape.


The vegetation cools by providing shade as well as evapotranspiration – the evaporation of water from leaves.

The tree canopy which surrounds the low-rise buildings also absorbs solar radiation and reflects it back into the atmosphere – further cooling the ground where pathways are made of concrete from Lafarge – white in colour to reflect the sun’s heat.

The architects worked closely with the Zaals to realise the family’s vision: “Al Barari is built on our core values, our social values and our family values, the integration and integrity of communities that live together and love each other is what we stand for and these are our core values.”

Chris Jones, of 10design, said: “It is a vision which we share and have helped to facilitate” while interior designer Kamelia Zaal called the partnership “a meeting of minds and souls which unleashed creative sparks.”

The development exists in an oasis of greenery which has views out across the desert to the Downtown Dubai skyline. The plants themselves are grown and nurtured in a complex of greenhouses on the site and then transplanted.

Horticulturalist Bruce Pedersen explained: “Over the last eight years we have examined 1,806 plant species and narrowed this down to 544, plants, trees, shrubs, cacti and succulents and there are two main flowering periods, spring and autumn.

“The greenery has attracted in animals and birds, we have seen green parrots, falcons, bats, hedgehogs and snakes. There is abundant insect life which is food for the birds and fish in the watercourses.” Jones explained how the project is irrigated. He said: “The watercourses on site use polished irrigation water from Dubai Municipality.

“This serves all the channels, streams and ponds. It is gravity fed from the top of the site to the lowest point and then recirculated with submersible pumps. Water levels are monitored daily and topped up when required.

“The water bodies are rich with wildlife, insects, fish, birds which enrich the flourishing ecosystem.”

Facts: – 1,806 plant species studied – 544 found suitable – 380,000 plants in greenhouses – 38 hectares for plant cultivation – 4.5 hectares under shade

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