Greening malls

Greening malls

22 April, 2013
Eco shopping experience
Singapore’s ambitious green building transformation

Shopping malls have become an inseparable part of living in cities, containing just about every human need within their walls, from groceries to fashion to furniture. They are a place to dine, to socialize and to spend leisure time. It therefore comes as no surprise that these hubs of human interaction are hopping on the eco-train, and seeking ways to enhance the shopper’s experience with a shot of green.
The revitalization of shopping malls to include green features is happening worldwide. In Asia, the Singapore government aims to have 80% of the existing building stock achieve the Green Mark green building certification rating by 2030, through a number of cash and GFA incentives targeting new and existing buildings as well as a push toward solar technologies. The small island country is also seeing refreshing new ideas applied to the mall environment for shoppers and retailers, filling common spaces with trees, plants and water features.
Located in the northern part of Singapore, the Sembawang Shopping Centre uses photovoltaic panels to power its retail mall. There are 51 solar panels on the carpark’s rooftop, which is able to generate 12,600kWh of electricity annually which translates to 34.52 kWh of electricity per day. This means a 32W fluorescent light can be powered for about 45 days. In addition to the solar panels, energy efficient lighting and variable speed drive controls are used for the air conditioning system and escalators to reduce energy usage. To reduce water usage, condensed water and harvested rainwater are used for irrigating the mall’s greenery and rooftop garden.
At 313@Somerset on Singapore’s famous shopping district Orchard Road, not only are there solar panels and energy efficient lighting and escalators, there is also a co-generation plant that produces heat from bio-diesel generated from waste cooking oil. To ensure indoor air quality for the health of occupants and shoppers, approved materials such as low VOC paint and low emissive materials are used alongside recycled materials such as refurbished carpet tiles. To get tenants thinking and acting more ecologically, green leases and tenancy collaboration are encouraged. The result of all these measures is a shopping environment with a wonderfully holistic approach to sustainability.
What still lacks in many shopping malls are shops that sell ecologically friendly products. Eco shops and products are still considered rather novelty, particularly in Asia. A great next step would be for consumers, inspired by the eco-consciousness and green vibe of their shopping environs, to have easy access to making smart and sustainable choices purchases of their own.

By: Ecozine Staff


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