Shopping Centre Splau, Spain

An outstanding example of an environmentally conscious, flexible-use shopping centre

Project Details

  • Scheme & Version: BREEAM in-use
  • Certification Stage: Certified
  • Rating:
  •  Asset Performance: Excellent
  • Building Management: Outstanding
  • Overall Score:
    •  Asset Performance: 77.34%
    • Building Management: 91.92%

Team Details

  • Developer / Client: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
  • Assessor Company: Bopro nv
  • Assessor: Matt Batey

About the Building

Shopping Centre Splau, constructed in 2010, is a shopping and leisure centre located in the Llobregat area on the southwestern edge of Barcelona of 55,000 m2, more than 144 shops, a multi-screen cinema and a wide range of restaurants.
Splau is a meeting point for the local residential and professional community and a key stop-off for international travellers to and from the nearby El Prat airport,  as a responsible tourism destination. Splau also serves as stop-off point for fans attending the FC Español football ground at the west of the site. In this it provides an outstanding example of a flexible-use site, able to provide for different target audiences at different times.
Splau’s approach to sustainability reflects the URW group-wide strategy “Better Places 2030”, detailed below, to minimise the shopping centre’s environmental impacts and to maximise its social benefits to its users and the local community. Continuing reductions in energy and water use, CO2 emissions, transport pollution and waste are targeted by a mix of technical measures and user engagement.
As part of the strategy, each year new measures are implemented towards achieving a target 25% saving in energy consumption on 2012 levels by 2030. Key features include a complete relighting project to install low-energy LED lighting, regulated by light sensors in all locations where there is sufficient access to daylight, and presence sensors in zones of intermitted occupancy (e.g. the Four Star Toilets). A roof-integrated solar photovoltaic installation and solar hot water panels complement these measures.
Splau employs a comprehensive strategy to ensure a high level of health and well-being for staff, tenants and customers. This strategy is heavily influenced by BREEAM, scoring above 95% in both parts 1 and 2, through a combination of covered and open exterior mall, restaurant and relaxing spaces, furnished with extensive greenery using native species to generate both a natural cooling and air purification effect and the provision of comfortable workspaces with natural light, fresh air and achieving high standards of cleanliness using only non-polluting products.
Another pillar of the 2030 strategy is the ambition for 75% of all journeys to and from the shopping centre to be made by public or environmentally friendly transport, where Splau also scores 85% on BREEAM. Splau has recently increased secure cycle parking both at the site and adjacent to it ‘Biciboxes’ provided by the city. Further efforts include the mobility plan to promote safe access to the site (by foot or cycle) from the local community and the ongoing implementation of EV charging (cars, motorbikes and e-bikes) onsite.
Biodiversity is giving priority at the site, scoring 100% on BREEAM-in-Use Part 2, with external areas enhanced by green areas of native species, while vertical greenery is used to hide technical areas and facades and contribute to fresh air. This is further complemented by community green spaces between the shopping centre and the local community and transport links, again filled with native species in a collaborative refurbishment project with the city authority.

Why did the building undergo BREEAM certification?

As early as 2007, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield devised an ambitious CSR strategy based on environmental best practices, social fairness and transparent governance. These commitments soon became an integral part of the operating, development and investment activities of the Group and its teams, enabling Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield to obtain the best scores on the market. In 2016, Unibail-Rodamco decided to accelerate its CSR strategy by setting a new long-term ambition, “Better Places 2030”, to address the main challenges facing real estate:

  1. Moving toward a low-carbon economy, in line with the COP 21 commitments;
  2. Anticipating and introducing new modes of sustainable mobility;
  3. Fully integrating the Group’s business activities in the regions, in partnership with the local communities.

BREEAM is a key tool that contributes to achieving the targets mentioned above, so achieving certification was  integrated in the corporate policy. Furthermore, the Group has achieved an unrivalled certification level for its portfolio, with 51 shopping centres BREEAM In-Use certified in Europe.


Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s waste management approach is designed to maximise recycling and minimise disposal to landfill. Tenants are regularly informed and made aware of local on-site waste management policies and processes, which are regularly evaluated and updated. Both supplier purchasing contracts and tenant “green leases” establish the minimum requirements to be met for waste-sorting and recycling. In particular, Splau has implemented a dedicated onsite service to collect and sort packaging waste from the stores (plastic foil, cardboard and paper); public waste collection points include sorting; and there are additional collection points for specialized waste such as batteries, lamps, electronic goods, unwanted clothes and food waste.

Unibail-Rodamco-westfield works hard to ensure its assets are welcoming and accessible to all members of the community. Special provisions are made for customers with disabilities, as well as for elderly customers and families.

The in-house 4 stars label based on a 684-point referential ensuring to provide a unique shopping experience through a welcoming atmosphere, quality management and a set of guest services: reception desk, personal shopping assistant or stylist, dining experience, family experience and environmental education points, and interactive corners for children, car sharing and more. At Splau this approach is evident in the high quality of the services and the spaces, in terms of range, quality and quantity of sanitary facilities, cleanliness, access to natural resources such as daylight, fresh air and greenery as well as consummate water, food and drink provisions. The management offices and other back-of-house zones are also monitored and approved as high quality workspaces and rest areas.

Reducing water consumption is an operational target on sites and continues to be closely tracked and managed. Based on environmental best practice, the Group is taking active steps to limit water consumption, reduce waste and maintain water quality. At Splau this strategy is implemented in full including low-consumption fittings (taps, WC-flushes, showers and white goods), presence detection to automatically control taps in public bathrooms, automatic irrigation control for green areas and reuse of  both grey and rainwater.

As part of its pioneering commitment to reducing its construction carbon footprint by 35% between 2015 and 2030, the Group focuses on the choice and use of the materials used in its development projects. In 2017 the group developed a policy to ensure that materials are matching the carbon goals that reuse of existing structures and materials is investigated, and that preference is given to materials with low environmental impact and to recycled products. Splau has undertaken a comprehensive review of building condition and risks, including detailed fire and emergency plans, including risks to the environment and flood protection. External specialists have conducted security and Health and Safety audits and the key recommendations have been implemented.

Multiple energy-saving measures have been implemented at Splau under Unibail-rodamco-Westfield’s sustainability strategy, including a full LED relighting programme, smart lighting controls based on daylight and presence detection, natural ventilation and advanced monitoring and regulation of cooling and heating systems. These measures have delivered a saving of more than 5% in energy consumption – equivalent to 71 tonnes of CO2 – as part of the 2030 strategy to achieve 25% savings compared to 2012 levels. A roof-integrated photovoltaic plant of 170kWp, providing 6% of total annual consumption complements this saving – to the extent of a further 87 tonnes of CO2 – as do solar panels to provide hot water for kitchens and showers.

As part of its Better Places 2030 strategy, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield set a target of at least 75% of all visits to its shopping centres by sustainable means of transport. Mobility plans were developed for all shopping centres. At Splau this focused on improving and increasing secure cycle storage, improving the attractiveness of surrounding areas to encourage access by foot and to link to public transport nodes (bus and metro) and providing charging stations for electric vehicles, including cars, e-bikes and e-motorbikes.

At Splau, detailed ecological studies have informed a biodiversity strategy to provide extensive green areas around the site, which has been fully implemented utilizing native flora to encourage local fauna – such as birds and insects to visit the shopping centre. Many

Green Strategy

BREEAM-led greening and biodiversity initiatives at the shopping centre set an example enabling Splau to encourage further greening of external spaces surrounding the site in a collaboration with the city authorities, creating a pleasant and attractive zone for relaxation and children’s play linking the shopping centre to the nearby residential and commercial areas, as well as the bus and metro stops. The city was also encouraged to place cycle storage at locations adjacent to the site to further inspire the use of sustainable transport.

Though the site has good public transport links its location and access routes were originally designed to enable easy access by car. BREEAM provided an excellent framework to develop facilities on the site (cycle storage, EV-charging, safe pedestrian access routes) to enhance the accessibility by sustainable means and encourage the take up of sustainable transport by making the zones linking the shopping centre to public transport and nearby residential areas attractive and inviting. This is supported by communication concerning the sustainability strategy involving both staff and visitors, in accordance with BREEAM Management credits.

By enhancing the attractiveness of the shopping centre and leisure zone and providing better access through BREEAM, Splau increased customer numbers and improved conditions for tenants enabling their businesses to flourish, thereby increasing employment opportunities for the local community, one of the central pillars of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s Better Places 2030 strategy.

Benefits of Assessing to BREEAM

“At Splau we have reduced the energy consumption by 30% compared to 2012 levels, much of which is attributable to measures taken under BREEAM. The assessment has given us a much broader perspective on what is feasible for the site, in terms of resource management (water, materials), impact reduction and positive contributions (biodiversity, healthy spaces) It demonstrates a commitment to quality to tenants that we continue to invest in improvement measures in both technical performance and quality of experience” -Marco Nieto, Technical Manager, SC Splau