Improving the shopping centre experience and future proofing an asset
One of Europe’s most experienced owners and managers of retail property, Eurocommercial Properties NV, has showcased its sustainability ethos with its Carosello Shopping Centre near Milan obtaining BREEAM In-Use certification. This is the first asset of the group to gain such recognition.
With a portfolio of 34 shopping centres in Italy, France and Sweden, Eurocommercial Properties NV is continually working to ensure its shopping centres are innovative and modern through regular refurbishments and extensions that are designed to improve the shopping experience and to make future proof its assets. Built in 1972 as one of the first hypermarkets in Italy, the 54,000m2 Carosello Shopping Centre has been transformed over the years, with an extension in 2008, a new food court in 2009 and a new internal plaza in 2016 – making it one of the leading and most vibrant Italian shopping centres with 113 shops, 13 restaurants and over 8.5 million visitors per year.
BREEAM In-Use Certification is testament to the values of the group, and the process of continuous improvement involves everyone from the management, as well as the suppliers, tenants and visitors, whose behaviour can significantly contribute to achieving the common goals of sustainability. The evaluation criteria for BREEAM In-Use concerned three main areas: Asset Performance (sustainability and environmental impact), Building Management (materials and building techniques) and Occupier Management (regulation and best practices).
The path to BREEAM In-Use Certification began in 2015 with an assessment of the centre and the definition of a sustainability strategy to make it more energy efficient in order to generate significant economic savings, reduce environmental pollution, as well as optimising management and operational practices.
The BREEAM In-Use Assessors for the project are Habitech.
Several key activities have helped the centre achieve a BREEAM Very Good for Part 1 (Asset Performance) and a BREEAM Good for Part 2 (Building Management).
Reduction of water consumption and waste management
To reduce water consumption, rainwater is collected for irrigation of the green areas. The green roof of the shopping centre (built in 2008 as part of the extension project) has the dual function of naturally draining rainwater and reducing the load on the sewer system. Rainwater is also used for other uses including toilets, fire prevention systems and the cooling system. In addition, the introduction of drinkable water will help reduce the waste generated by plastic bottles.
A waste management process has been adopted by providing containers which segregate as much waste as possible, both inside the shopping centre for users and in an outdoor area for operators.
For people with reduced mobility, the shopping centre features improved accessibility, while a free bus shuttle connects Carosello with the subway and railway station, thereby reducing the use of private cars.
Optimum internal environment
The improvement in terms of acoustics, lighting and climate for shoppers and operators was also a key element of the strategy. This was achieved through the on-site measurement of acoustics throughout the shopping gallery and in the offices, and the monitoring of the visual comfort to prevent dazzle from natural light and ensure the most suitable level of artificial lighting. The interior climate and airflow was measured to strike the right balance between energy efficiency and the comfort of users and operators. The green roof mitigates the cold in winter and hot in summer, in addition to reducing the “heat effect” for the benefit of the local community.
The formalisation of periodic maintenance procedures and a Building User Guide integrated with sustainability concepts have been communicated, shared and adopted by users. In addition, the periodic review of technical surveys to assess the state of maintenance and obsolescence of the asset combined with detailed interviews of customers, operators and staff will assess the state of satisfaction with respect to the spaces and services offered.