La Galerie, Caserne de Bonne, Grenoble, France

This “urban recycling” development project, with high environmental aims, has been selected as the pilot project for the EU’s Concerto initiative.

Project Details

  • Scheme & Version: In-Use International 2015 Parts: 1 & 2
  • Location: Grenoble, France
  • Size: 19,935 m²
  • Certificate Number: BIU00002608-1.0
  • Asset Performance: 84% Excellent
  • Building Management: 87.9% Outstanding

The above information is for the original certification of this project, please reference GreenBookLive for current details


Project Team

  • Client: Mercialys
  • CSR Manager: Audrey Servadio
  • Director of the Centre: Patrick Rolland
  • BREEAM In Use Auditor: Hervé Moal
  • Property manager: Sudeco
  • Architect: Groupe 6

About the Building

Our building is a shopping centre located in a special urban development zone called ZAC de Bonne, within the city of Grenoble, in France. This special development area is France’s leading eco-district. The building, built in 2010, forms part of the spectacular reconversion of a former military brownfield site into a mixed-use district comprising offices, housing, a student residence and a hotel.

This “urban recycling” development project, with high environmental aims, has been selected as the pilot project for the EU’s Concerto initiative.

The 19,935 m² shopping centre is made up of five buildings:

  • la-caserne-2Building A, also known as the “bioclimatic hall ”, comprises retail space and offices on separate floors (including the centre management’s offices)
  • Building B consists of ground-level shops and office space on upper levels
  • Building C, the renovated former army barracks, comprises shops on the ground floor with housing on upper levels, as well as the security centre
  • Building D comprises retail space over three floors and an office platform.
  • Building E consists of ground-level shops.

The shopping centre is located at the heart of this new district. It is a place for shopping, leisure and walking, with 4.5 hectares of dedicated green space. La Caserne de Bonne comprises around 50 stores and restaurants,  including retailers such as organic food brand Naturalia, Nature & Découvertes, which offer natural products and services, and ethical clothing brand Modetic (for more details click here). The centre belongs to Mercialys, which owns around 60 shopping centres mainly located in the south of France. At December 31, 2014, the market value of Mercialys’ property assets was Euro 2, 5 billion.

Why did this building undergo BREEAM In-Use Certification?

“We are particularly proud of obtaining this level of certification and thereby becoming the first shopping centre in the world to be certified Outstanding for both parts. It recognizes a systematic involvement and awareness of the team on environmental issues from the design stage to the day-to-day property management” Patrick Rolland, shopping centre director of La Caserne de Bonne.

This involvement has been highly beneficial to all of the centres’ stakeholders: consumers, retailers and investors. This certification has enabled in-house teams to improve operating practices and think about new processes. Public information and awareness has been implemented widely in the centre. Thus, customers benefit from more educational information about environmental best practices adopted at the centre.

An improved environmental performance enables retailers’ employees to benefit from better working conditions, through access to natural light and good air quality, etc. Finally, for investors, a well-designed, environmentally efficient, well managed retail centre represents a sound investment.

Green Strategy and Environmental Features

Mercialys’ environmental approach consists in taking into account the environmental impact of its properties over their entire life cycle. Issues such as energy efficiency, water management, impact on biodiversity, environmental risks and integration into the landscape are factored in from the design phase onwards, ensuring:


  • observance of bioclimatic architecture principles: orientation in relation to the sun and prevailing winds, compactness of the building, choice of materials etc
  • connection to public transport links and existing cycle paths
  • promotion of low-carbon means of transport: reserved car pool parking spaces, spaces equipped with recharging points for electric vehicles
  • stormwater management with the creation of separate systems and the installation of green roofs or retention ponds to reduce water flows.

These measures are then optimized during the construction phase using “tools” such as:

  • a carbon footprint assessment in order to reduce emissions by optimizing construction processes and transportation of building materials
  • the low environmental impact building site construction charter, ensuring the sorting and recycling of site waste, which may be re-used on-site, as well as reducing noise pollution
  • dynamic thermal simulations
  • environmental and health product declaration forms (FDES), allowing for the selection of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) products.

Additionally, in view of the life span of its properties, Mercialys pays particularly close attention to the environmental quality of practices used during the operational phase, such as:

  • dematerialized street marketing campaigns (no distribution of flyers to prevent paper consumption)
  • ecological management of green spaces, with changes to the contract in order to shift towards a zero phytosanitary product approach, but also to combat invasive species, favour indigenous plant species and protect bird nests
  • holding regular meetings with retailers to improve the centre’s energy efficiency
  • using environmentally-friendly and labelled products to clean the centre
  • automatic control and monitoring of the centre’s equipment
  • drawing up fire safety procedures that take account of environmental risks
  • customer-targeted communications to encourage them to practice car pooling.


Our company CSR policy requires the constant involvement of our teams in the environmental performance of our assets. We believe we have found in the BREEAM In-Use certification a valuable tool, due to its exhaustive framework, relevance and rigorous demands, to accompany their effort.

This virtuous dynamic needs to be maintained. Therefore, Mercialys has set itself the target of obtaining Outstanding BREEAM certification for at least 30% of its portfolio between now and the end of 2015. By choosing the highest level of certification, Mercialys’ goal is to improve its operating practices significantly.

La Caserne de Bonne was an obvious first choice for Mercialys to seek certification on, given the outstanding conception of this centre – respectful of its environment, architecturally integrated and an integral part of the local urban environment. These characteristics together with the participation of our staff helped the centre to obtain the BREEAM In-Use certification in September 2014 at an Outstanding level. This sets a strong precedent to be matched by the rest of the assets to be certificated within the portfolio.

La Caserne de Bonne is a very environmentally efficient development as the result of an unparalleled approach to addressing its environmental impacts.

The centre was designed in accordance with the principles of bioclimatic architecture (favoring natural light, orientation relative to the wind, low-E glazing). It is also built in wood in order to benefit from the thermal inertia of the material. The shopping mall is neither heated nor air conditioned. It benefits from heat provided by the shops and from natural ventilation. All of these factors help to significantly reduce the centre’s energy consumption, limited primarily to lighting. The centre’s shops are provided with heat via the city’s district heating system. Fresh air is supplied through a geothermal system, using a groundwater pumping mechanism. In the event of severe heat, an ammonia-based cooling unit is used to provide air conditioning for shops.

Cooling of shops is controlled by the Building Management System (BMS), and is only triggered if three conditions are met simultaneously:

  • the outside temperature is more than 28°C
  • pumps are working at their maximum speed for more than a quarter of an hou
  • the difference in temperature relative to the groundwater loop is more than 1.8°C

The centre is also fitted with 1,000 m² of photovoltaic panels installed on shed roofs. A dynamic public display on one of the centre’s walls allows for real-time monitoring of energy production. This is a way of raising awareness among visitors to the centre.

The centre has been designed to minimize water consumption through its equipment, with waterless urinals, dual flush cisterns and pressure reducing valves. The BMS allows for real-time monitoring of the centres water consumption. A warning is given if consumption reaches an unusual level.

Green roofs allow for the retention of rainwater and also limit wastewater pollution by avoiding runoff onto waterproof surfaces

Five types of waste are sorted for recycling at the centre:

  • non-hazardous industrial waste
  • cardboard
  • plastic
  • lamps and bulbs
  • wood pallets.

Green roofs are managed “ecologically” – no synthetic products are used to maintain the roofs and weeding is done by hand. This contributes to protecting biodiversity on the premises.

For a better air quality, the centre relies on natural ventilation. When carrying out works, tenants must use low VOC (volatile organic compounds) products (paint, adhesives etc.). The plant species chosen for the roofs also help to improve air quality.

Lessons Learnt and Future Plans

The BREEAM In-Use process of certification of La Caserne de Bonne has enabled improvements to be identified to procedures that can be replicated at other centres. Examples include taking greater account of environmental risks in fire safety procedures, perfecting occupant satisfaction surveys and optimizing facility performance.

Certification has also helped to draw specific guidelines on certain operations such as written procedures, helping ensure continuity of building performance in the event of a change in the company or team in charge of building management. Studies relating to the certification process have also been a rich source of information, particularly a health and wellbeing study. This has enabled us to examine current operating procedures and potential new ones. Finally, certification has helped to enhance dialogue between the stakeholders (customers, retailers, local elected representatives) with regard to environmental issues, in order to ensure the performance of the asset in the long run.

La Caserne de Bonne has been a pilot project for Mercialys, allowing the company to validate its policies and step up the involvement of its staff, with the help of an easy-to-use reference framework of fair but demanding criteria. The Outstanding certifications awarded to the Espace Anjou and Besançon Chateaufarine shopping centres in November 2014 confirmed the successful implementation of these policies.