Shopping centre retrofits could play major part in EU green goals

An EU-funded energy project claims that retrofitting shopping centres could have a crucial role in Europe achieving its green goals.

The CommONEnergy project believes “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 per cent 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 cent per year, meaning more than 60 per cent of the shopping centre building stock is expected to be upgraded by 2030, representing a unique opportunity for rapid and sustainable overhaul.

CommONEnergy says that by embedding the deep retrofitting of these facilities in the EPBD, 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.

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