A continuous investment in sustainability reaps rewards
At 98,000m2 Vélizy 2 was the largest commercial centre in Europe when it was opened in 1972.
The large and prestigious commercial centre attracted big retailers which included the very first C&A in France. The commitment to quality and excellence has remained over the years, for example with Canal + choosing Vélizy 2 as the location for their first “Store Canal” in 2011.
The current main owner Unibail-Rodamco, the leading listed real estate company in Europe, acquired the building in 1994 and supported an ambitious team with several renovation projects. The centre also benefits from a new tramway that now connects Vélizy with the centre of Paris and attracts 14.9 million annual visitors for the 180 shops and cinema. The centre continuously invests in sustainability and benchmarks this with a BREEAM In-Use certificate for Part 1 (Asset) and Part 2 (Building Management). The current certificate is a renewal of the assessment undertaken in 2012, originally with a score of 62% for Part 1 (Asset) and 56% Part 2 (Building Management). The certification also fits within a global sustainability policy of Unibail-Rodamco. One of the main targets for the standing managed portfolio for 2016 was to obtain BREEAM In-Use certification for at least 80% of the managed retail portfolio with a minimum of ‘Excellent’ Part 1 (Asset) and ‘Outstanding’ for Part 2 (Building Management).
Vélizy 2 is shortlisted in the BREEAM Awards 2017.
Better Places 2030
The new CSR strategy of Unibail-Rodamco launched in September 2016 is named “Better Places 2030” and aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. This makes Unibail the first listed real estate company to engage on such an ambitious and global strategy. As early as 2007, Unibail-Rodamco, devised an ambitious CSR strategy based on environmental best practices, social fairness and transparent governance.
In 2016, Unibail-Rodamco was selected as a “Green Star” for the sixth year in a row by GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) In 2015, the group was named “Global sector leader”, achieving the best score worldwide within the retail sector.
The signature of the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, on December 12 by 195 countries in the framework of COP21, brought the world into a new era. Christophe Cuvillier, Chairman of the Management Board of Unibail-Rodamco, decided that the Group would take up a new long-term challenge, with a set of objectives to be achieved by 2030: “Better Places 2030”. The Group aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
This strategy will be incorporated into the entire value chain with, for the first time, a wide spectrum of initiatives covering the emissions resulting from the activities of the group and its stakeholders. In doing so, it becomes the first listed real estate company to address the very wide scope of indirect emissions resulting from construction works, consumption of energy by tenants and transport used by all users of its sites (employees and visitors).
This global approach revolves around 4 pillars on the theme “less is better”:
Less carbon emissions, better buildings
Less polluting transport, better connectivity
Less local unemployment, better communities
Less top-down, better collective power
Unibail-Rodamco commits to certify its retail centres with BREEAM In-Use to give an indication of the state of the asset, linking this to the management of the asset and the partnerships with tenants. By setting the bar high with a minimum Very Good for buildings and Excellent for building management, Unibail ensures a holistic approach that is taken on board for each of its assets. Unibail-Rodamco always chooses to implement Part 1 and Part 2 together. For a building in-use the qualities of the asset are as important as the sustainable management of the building.
Vélizy 2 has a strong baseline to start from for building management. The general procedures are however further specified for this site, safeguarding the long-term performance of all facilities on-site and a clear strategy for continuous improvement. Although the global policy of Unibail-Rodamco sets the bar high, Vélizy 2 rose to the challenge, further improving the building since 2012 and achieved a final certificate with ‘Excellent’ for Asset and ‘Outstanding’ for Building Management under the BREEAM In-Use International 2015 scheme.
- Energy and Health & Wellbeing: The common area received an entirely newly designed roof in 2007. The new roof is elevated compared to the previous design to allow natural light to entire the building. In the summer the shape of the roof allows natural air to enter the building. This lowers the overall operation cost of the building but also improves the interior environment quality for visitors, tenants and employees. The shops themselves still have partly mechanical ventilation to guarantee the necessary air quality.
- Management: Since 2010 works were planned to expand the surface of the commercial centre with 50%. The works have not yet been fully completed. The construction site for the expansion and the renovation sites for existing shops showcased during the assessment that the management policies are in place and are used. The construction sites are clearly separated from the visitor area and have a barrier to protect the building in-use from noise, dust and danger.
- Water: In 2016 the water consumption decreased dramatically with a 12.8% reduction corresponding to 8047 m3 saved. This reduction was obtained by the renovation of the restrooms, where high standard water saving equipment was installed.
- Energy: Less frequently visited areas have sensors installed to make the lighting only work when necessary. After closing time the entire centre has a strict timing to turn off all the unnecessary lighting during closing time.
- Energy intensity: Vélizy 2 improved its energy intensity and achieved a significant reduction of -7.5% between 2012 and 2016 (in kWh/visit) due to a proactive management and a set of specific initiatives as required by the Group’s specific EMS called ‘Sustainable Management Attitude’ designed for the standing portfolio.
- Energy purchased: In 2015, 51% of the site electricity purchased (managed by the landlord) was renewable.
- Waste: In 2016, 1423 tonnes of waste was collected, 64.24% of the waste managed was valued (63.39% recycled and 0.85% valued via incineration with energy recovery). Waste from tenants and visitors is thoroughly sorted in order to obtain the highest possible value in recuperation of these materials.
- Management: All new tenants need to sign a green lease that safeguards the implementation of sustainability on all levels.
- Transport: During 2015 the cyclist facilities have been expanded with additional bicycle racks at several entrances.
- Transport: A direct tramway between the shopping centre and Paris has been created, guaranteeing a frequent connection with the city by public transport. The shopping centre provides 3 electrical charging points for electrical vehicles.
- Health & Wellbeing: There is serious investment in the social value of the building. Vélizy 2 is a 4 stars labelled shopping centre. During a 2 day assessment, SGS audits no less than 684 quality criteria and make sure the centre sticks to its commitments with a surprise inspection once a year. This label is an additional Unibail-Rodamco policy for the building management to make sure that quality in service, comfort while visiting and a unique experience can be guaranteed over time.
- BREEAM rating: Part 1 (Asset) Excellent 73.4 %, Part 2 (Building Management) Outstanding 85.2 %
- Size: 120,763.00 m²
- Visitors: 14.9 million visitors
- BREEAM version: BREEAM In-Use International 2015