Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping destination, will soon see a “green” mall among its other offerings. 313@Somerset — an 8-storey, 301,389 sq ft shopping mall designed to be environmentally sustainable — is expected to be ready by year-end.

Developed at a cost of S$1 billion (RM 2.4 billion), 313@Somerset was awarded the Green Mark Platinum Award by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in April last year. The BCA Green Mark Scheme, a green building rating system, was launched in 2005 to evaluate buildings on their environmental impact and performance. The buildings are awarded Platinum, GoldPLUS, Gold or Certified ratings, depending on the points scored.

Australia’s Lend Lease Group, the developer, says the project will be able to “reduce the carbon footprint and water usage as well as establish estate recycling as part of the development”. Robert Spinks, Lend Lease Retail Sdn Bhd development director, says the developer aims to reduce operating expenses by mitigating exposure to future increases in energy costs.

It is said that the saving measures at the mall will reduce energy consumption by more than 30%. Some of the features that will be incorporated into 313@Somerset include solar panels to help power its car park and the recovery of waste heat, which will be used within the shopping centre.

Speaking at the two-day International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities 2009 (WCSC 2009) in Kuala Lumpur recently, Spinks says Lend Lease also plans to provide its retailers with strict “green” guidelines to fit out their stores as well as information on the various awareness activities to assist the retailers’ efforts to become green and sustainable. “One of our key initiatives would be the introduction of the retailer services calculator and guides for sustainable materials, retail design and fit out. We will also organise eco tours to educate and share with our tenants, shoppers and the public various methods of reducing the mall’s carbon footprint,” he adds.
Following its negotiations with the retailers, Lend Lease has received confirmation from a number of its anchor and speciality retailers that they will use eco-friendly packaging, source eco-friendly building materials and implement eco-friendly water and electricity- saving measures. One of its key retailers will even be collecting used cooking oil for burning fuel and using energy-saving lights and electrical equipment, according to Lend Lease.

Spinks says 313@Somerset will be operating the first Lend Lease Retail Training Centre at its office in Orchard Road. “We are working closely with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency to achieve accreditation for our free courses which focus on sustainable retail practices,” he says.

More than 450 people attended the inaugural WCSC 2009 co-organised by the Kuala Lumpur chapter of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association, the Malaysian Institute of Planners and the Malaysian Institute of Architects.

313@Somerset marks Lend Lease Group’s first “green” development in Asia. Its other projects include what is considered one of the world’s largest solar-powered communities in Oahu (the US military housing in Hawaii) and BP’s Helio House in the US, the first gas station in the US to be accredited by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a US-based certification programme for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

In Australia, the group is developing The Gauge, the first commercial building to be awarded the six-star Green Star by the Green Building Council of Australia. The Green Star is a comprehensive rating scheme that evaluates the environmental design and achievement of buildings.

In Malaysia, however, property developer Bandar Utama Development Sdn Bhd adopted green measures when it began operations in the 1990s, long before it was fashionable to be green, as seen in its 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.

According to the developer, when it started the development of the shopping complex, it had envisioned the incorporation of the green concept into the building’s architectural and engineering designs. 1 Utama is considered the first to install an ice-storage air-conditioning system that utilises idle off-peak electrical power from Tenaga Nasional Bhd, thereby reducing its demand during peak hours.LEND LEASE GROUP

It also practises “rainwater harvesting”, where a huge underground tank holds enough water for 10 days which can then be used for the flushing of toilets, air-conditioning and landscaping. The tank also serves as an anchor to help balance the weight of the low-rise building.

Meanwhile, another “green” mall, located in S P Setia Bhd’s Bandar Setia Alam in Shah Alam, is slated for completion in 2011. The 1.23 million sq ft, RM750 million Setia City Mall — a joint venture between Lend Lease Group and S P Setia — aims to make the most of its land and satisfy its strict environmental objectives.

“Setia City Mall is a greenfield development on a large parcel of land — 30.5 acres — and we will be implementing measures which will help reduce the carbon footprint of the construction, operation and management of the mall. We will select operational equipment and fixtures that are proven to be efficient and sustainable, as well as use passive design to ensure there is minimal solar gain and loss of air-conditioning through building orientation, shading and insulation,” Spinks tells City & Country.

Lend Lease Group is familiar with the retailing environment in Malaysia, having been involved in the design and construction of Alamanda Mall in Putrajaya and in the preliminary design of KL Pavilion. Its collaboration with S P Setia enables it to create more than just a neighbourhood mall.

“We are building a retail destination that, upon completion, will provide long-term, sustainable growth for retailers, owners and the community as a whole,” says Spinks.

US-based architecture firm The Jerde Partnership has been appointed to design the Setia City Mall.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 751, April 20-26, 2009