How a shopping mall in Singapore goes green

Singapore is well-known for its food and shopping experience, and this potent mix can be found at the ubiquitous shopping malls located at all major town centers in Singapore. In recent years, shopping malls are starting to look almost alike, with the major international and local brands infiltrating the malls and offering similar sales.

Are all shopping malls the same? To differentiate itself from other shopping malls, some malls are trying to target different groups of consumers, while others are starting to brand itself on a particular theme. One recent shopping mall, City Square Mall, developed and managed by City Developments Limited (CDL), decided to focus on the green theme and prides itself as the first eco-mall in Singapore. So how green is this shopping mall?

Green Business Singapore recently visited the mall for a site tour and to understand more about this unique shopping destination from the mall’s Environmental Officer. City Square Mall is located at the junction of Serangoon Road and Kitchener Road, and is opened since September 2009.

CDL is well-known as a green developer and sustainability leader in Singapore, having won several awards for its environmental and CSR initiatives. At CDL, its commitment to business sustainability and excellence is part of the corporate ethos.

When CDL planned the project for City Square Mall, it reviewed the relationship of the building with the people in the vicinity and the environment, and envisioned City Square Mall to be a shopping mall for families to congregate, play and shop while allowing them to enjoy an eco-friendly experience and learn more about the environment.

As Singapore’s first eco-mall, City Square Mall is designed, built and managed with environmental sustainability in mind, and was conceptualised as a prototype of an eco-friendly and community-friendly shopping mall with a comprehensive range of innovative energy and water efficient features. CDL invested approximately 5% of the total construction cost into the development of the mall’s numerous green innovations.

City Square Mall has been awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award and its eco-friendly features include a 49,000 sq ft urban park, an eco-playground made of child friendly conditioned wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a green roof with solar panels and water-harvesting capabilities, recycling bins as well as in-mall educational graphics and messages about the environment.

The various energy efficient features has helped the eco-mall to reduce total energy usage by approximately 39% compared to designs using standard industry codes, and to save more than 17 million kWh of electricity from October 2009 to February 2011, and to reduce more than 6,800 of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The features include:

  • Sunpath analysis for effectiveness of sunshades and wall insulation
  • High-performance low-emissivity double glazing to reduce heat transmission
  • High-efficiency air-conditioning plant system
  • Lighting zoning and alternate lighting circuits for common areas
  • Motion detectors for toilets and staircases
  • Motion lighting sensor for vehicles at Basement 4 carpark
  • Eco green roof with solar panels and water-harvesting capabilities
  • Indoor greenery and landscaping to mitigate urban heat island effects
  • Lifts, escalators and travellators designed with auto-lighting and ventilation fans and slow-down features

The water efficient features at the eco-mall has helped to reduce operational costs and save about 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water annually. The features include:

  • Rainwater harvesting for plants irrigation
  • “Eco-restrooms” with waterless urinals with “very good” to “excellent” water fitting under PUB’s Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme
  • Recycling of condensate water from Primary Air-handling Unit for cooling tower make up
  • Water sub-meters to monitor water consumption and leak detection

Other design innovations in the eco-mall include:

  • Installation of a twin-chute pneumatic refuse collection and disposal system (for separation of general and recyclable waste)
  • Rain sensors for landscape irrigation
  • Non-chemical water treatment for cooling tower
  • Electric-car ready carpark with charging stations and dedicated lots for hybrid cars
  • Environmental-themed sculpture to raise public awareness on environmental conservation
  • Real-time display of indoor environmental performance for shoppers

The shopping mall with 700,000 sq ft of gross retail space has about 200 tenants. In line with CDL’s holistic life-cycle approach towards environmental sustainability, beyond green building design and sustainable mall management practices, it also promotes environmental sustainability to the various stakeholders from the outset, through engagement initiatives with tenants and providing an eco-learning experience for shoppers.

The mall hosts an extensive mix of eco-friendly tenants such as NTUC FairPrice and Kopitiam where these tenants have taken the extra effort in incorporating eco-friendly design and products in their stores, unlike their other outlets. Along with the mall’s many family-friendly tenants such as Amore Living (Fitness & Spa), MindChamps Preschool and OCBC Bank, these eco-friendly tenants reinforces the mall’s positioning as an eco-friendly and family-friendly mall.

CDL organises eco-themed activities regularly and also incorporates eco-friendly practices to educate both tenants and shoppers with a greater awareness about the environment. It also promotes green best practices like recycling, reusing and reducing where recycling bins are placed prominently throughout the mall. The mall also hosts regular eco-workshops to teach children how to enjoy various eco-learning activities such as terrarium making, festive crafts, and urban recycling.

Some people might argue that a shopping mall cannot be sustainable since it promotes consumerism as its core focus, but CDL hopes to balance excessive consumerism and sustainability in the eco-mall through a mix of “hardware” such as green design and features, and “software” such as environmental education and inculcating eco-friendly practices among tenants and shoppers. This is what other shopping malls in Singapore could emulate, and maybe eco-malls would be as ubiquitous too in the near future.

Images: City Square Mall and City Square Mall logo via CDL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *