Retrofitting shopping centres could play a significant role in reaching Europe’s green goals.
That’s according to the EU-funded CommONEnergy project, which says “temples of consumerism” need to be turned into “lighthouses of sustainable consumer behavior”, by being properly accounted for in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
The research adds wholesale & retail sites represent 28% of non-residential buildings, typically demand a lot of energy and produce high levels of carbon dioxide emissions and waste.
Shopping centres have a very high renovation rate of around 4.4% per year. As a consequence, more than 60% of the shopping centre building stock is expected to be upgraded by 2030, representing a unique opportunity for rapid and sustainable overhaul.
By embedding the deep retrofitting of these facilities in the EPBD, CommONEnergy says the EU could develop a systemic approach made up of innovative technologies, methods and tools to support the implementation of green measures and assess their impacts.
Researchers believe shopping centres’ large spaces, peculiar features and complex logistics offer a high potential for standardisation and replication in different contexts all around Europe.
They suggest there are few cases with well thought-out measurement systems to see how energy is distributed between different functions in the building and say this needs to be changed – waste energy from one activity could often be recovered and used by another.