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Environmental performance

Focus on material topics

The focus of the Retail Fund's sustainability strategy is on reducing the environmental footprint of the shopping centres or retail assets in its portfolio. It does so by exerting a direct influence on the larger (public) areas of the buildings or complexes, and by investing in improvements that benefit existing and potential tenants. We actively cooperate with existing tenants on initiatives to optimise comfort and energy efficiency. We continue to work with our property managers, local authorities and tenants to provide comfortable, safe and convenient shopping areas in our retail assets. So far, six assets have been assessed or are in the process of being assessed for the ‘Keurmerk Veilig Ondernemen’ safety certification.

Monitoring performance

Monitoring environmental performance data (energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste) is an important part of managing sustainability issues. The Fund tracks and aims to improve the environmental performance of its managed real estate assets; those properties where the Fund is responsible for purchasing and managing energy consumption. The Fund reports on energy consumption (electricity, heating and gas: the energy components) for shopping centres which translates to greenhouse gas emissions.

Smart meters, smart business

To monitor energy consumption closely the Fund continued to expand active monitoring in 2016 by installing smart metering systems. All common areas and connections for which the Fund is responsible for purchasing energy are now covered. It also started a pilot of web-based energy monitoring and management for two assets. In addition, the Fund plans to install smart meters at all new developments, acquisitions and at individual tenant level. Once again, this will require close cooperation with tenants, as they have to agree to install the smart meters. This still remains a challenge.

Energy efficiency improvements through sustainable upgrades

The Fund sees redevelopment projects as the perfect opportunity to upgrade and enhance the sustainability of its assets, for instance by fitting solar panels, insulation, efficient lighting and other measures. Making the Fund’s assets more sustainable helps us to maintain or increase their value and improves their letting potential. In 2016, the Fund carried out measures to increase the sustainability of its assets at the following shopping centres: 

  • Molenhoekpassage, Rosmalen - To maintain the high quality of this successful shopping centre for daily goods and reduce the risk of vacancy, the Fund is upgrading and updating the look and feel of this centre and adapting the division of retail spaces to the demands of the current tenants. During the highly sustainable redevelopment, the Fund increased energy efficiency by adding insulation to the outer facade of concrete plates. The Fund also renewed the roof area and added more insulation, which helped to improve the centre’s energy label to B from G.

  • Goverwelle, Gouda - The Fund used the opportunity of a major renovation project to completely replace the roof covering, replace the old insulation with modern and much more efficient insulation system that also improved water drainage from the roof.

  • Maasplaza, Dordrecht - In this centre, the Fund replaced the old lighting with LED spotlights. This increased light levels while reducing energy consumption and energy bills.

  • Prinsenland, Rotterdam - The fund replaced the central heating boiler with a new, more efficient boiler, helping to cut gas and electricity use.

  • De Promesse, Lelystad - The Fund took a number of radical noise-reduction measures at his centre, to reduce the nuisance of the noise generated by cooling systems, with the aim of improving the living environment for local residents.

Following technical improvements and joint initiatives with tenants, the average Energy Index improved to 0.91 in 2016 (2015: 0.98). The majority of the portfolio’s properties have now been awarded an energy label A, B or C (85.2%), indicating a good overall level of energy efficiency for the portfolio.

Clear targets, practical measures

The Fund has set clear targets to reduce energy consumption in the assets over which it has ‘operational control’, mostly shopping centres. In 2016, the Fund managed to cut energy consumption by 5.1% (2015: 2.7%) contributing to a total cut in energy consumption of 18.2% in the period 2012-2016 on a like-for-like basis and achieved its target.

The Fund  has set clear targets for the period 2016-2018 to decrease its environmental impact:

  • Energy: average annual reduction 2%

  • GHG emissions: average annual reduction 2%

  • Water: average annual reduction 2%

  • Waste: increase recycling percentage

  • Renewable energy: increase percentage renewable energy

The implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) will help us to achieve these targets. Furthermore, we aim to increase the use of renewable energy. Following the Climate Agreement in Paris (COP21), plus the United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the Dutch Energy Agreement, we expect to see stronger external demand to reduce GHG emissions and commitments to actively contribute to sustainable cities and communities. We actively support and contribute to these initiatives where possible. 

The Fund’s ambition to increase the coverage and therefore the transparency of its environmental impact according to INREV sustainability guidelines is reflected in the summary of key CSR data. For more detailed information please see the CSR performance indicators at the end of this annual report.

Green building certificates

The design for the redevelopment of the retail complex Damrak 70 and 80 in Amsterdam was awarded the BREEAM NL New Build and Renovation Very Good certificate at year-end 2015. The design team worked with a BREEAM NL expert to incorporate a host of sustainability measures in the design. The roof has been fitted with solar panels and the building has been fitted out with LED lamps. The designers also opted for energy efficient escalators and lifts, while virtually all the existing construction was either reused or incorporated in the design. The redevelopment also complied with the Bewuste Bouwers sustainable construction code, which includes standards for minimising and separating waste, the reduction of energy and water use, safety and the prevention of nuisance in the immediate environment.

The Fund continued the BREEAM assessment process in 2016 by working with the new tenants to introduce a broad range of measures for the fit-out and use of the retail premises, with the ultimate aim of a BREEAM NL Very Good post-construction stage certificate. The post-construction certificate can be issued only once the renovation is completed, all the tenants have moved into the complex and both the external assessor and the Dutch Green Buidling Council finally have checked and verified all the provided evidence. This is expected in the first quarter of 2018. The adjoining project Nieuwendijk 196 in Amsterdam has already received the design stage certificate BREEAM Very Good. The post-construction certificate is expected in the second quarter of 2017.

The Fund also started the process for obtaining the BREEAM-NL In-Use certificate for two shopping centres: Goverwelle (Gouda) and Makado (Purmerend). Both certificates were issued in the beginning of 2016.

Green lease

The Retail Fund continued its Green Lease initiative in 2016, adding 13 Green Leases. These lease agreements incorporate sustainability clauses, with the aim of increasing and enhancing the information exchange between the Retail Fund and its tenants. This in turn creates opportunities to improve environmental performance. Combined with installing smart meters at tenant level, the Fund sees this as the first step towards more far-reaching green leases in the future.

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