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More malls going green

More shopping malls in Singapore are going green in the global push to be more environmentally friendly.

SINGAPORE: More shopping malls in Singapore are going green in the global push to be more environmentally friendly.

Such green features help to reap savings in energy and water usage.

But in addition, some consultants say, they also help to create a safer shopping experience for consumers

There are 32 eco-malls in Singapore according to the Building and Construction Authority, and some of the green features do enhance your shopping experience without you even knowing it.

Lend Lease which manages 313@Somerset along Orchard Road says such features include a highly efficient air-conditioning system that generates more airflow but less noise, skylight that lets in natural lighting, and the use of what's called low volatile organic compounds or low VOC paints which are less toxic.

"It is creating a more comfortable environment," said John Sironic, Head of Retail Operations at Lend Lease. "The paint is less volatile, there is fresher air coming through, we use bulbs with reduced flickering so there is less of a stress in your eyes which can potentially give people headaches."

Lend Lease says 313@Somerset achieves annual energy savings equivalent to powering about 6,700 4-Room HDB flats in a month. While water savings works out to an equivalent of six Olympic sized swimming pools.

The mall operator is also working with tenants to drive more sustainable practices.

"The way our model works is if they introduce some of these greening initiatives, and these initiative have in turn reduced energy cost that they may be charged, we may discount some electricity cost for example," Sironic added.

Lend Lease says typically air conditioning uses the most energy in a mall, followed by escalators and lifts, and lighting. Together they account for about 70 to 80 per cent of total energy consumption."

Over at City Square Mall on Serangoon Road, Singapore's first eco-mall, there is a green feature which collects rain water to be re-used for irrigating plants.

Mall Manager City Developments Limited (CDL) says such efforts have helped the mall reap annual water savings equivalent to nearly 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

CDL says annual energy savings is equivalent to powering 3200 4-room HDB flats for a year.

The developer adds that it invests 2-5 per cent of construction cost of new developments on green building design and features.

But it says that there is more to going green.

"It is easy to make a mall green in terms of technology, in terms of infrastructure, however to be sustainable it is more important to engage the community at large to learn about sustainability -- to know about energy conservation, waste recycling, water conservation," said Allen Ang, Head of Innovation & Green Building at CDL.

So CDL has placed eco-messages around City Square mall to drive greater awareness.

Consultants say that, increasingly, more developers are building green properties.

"You have lower over-heads, and in some studies, it also translates into better occupancy rate, better rental rates, as well as resale value," said Owen Wee, Vice President, Building Consultancy Services at Surbana International Consultants. "Developers are recognising that it is an asset protection strategy as well."

Meanwhile, building tenants are also getting in on the greening act.

The Building and Construction Authority says at least 50 tenants including supermarkets and fast food restaurants have committed to green their outlets through the Green Mark Portfolio Programme since its launch last September.

The programme seeks to encourage the adoption of energy efficient design, technologies, and good environmental management system among tenants. 

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