Last edited 03 Oct 2017

BREEAM puts the emphasis on green retail

Retailers have been going green for some time now – for example, Marks and Spencer Plan A, the Waitrose Way or Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 – but with the release of a report by BREEAM in March 2017, called Delivering Sustainable Buildings: Value of BREEAM to Retail in the UK, will all the other retailers follow suit?

Published by BREEAM and Currie & Brown, the report offers guidance by drawing on the experience of some of the big retailers and how investing in sustainable retail buildings can help them be more successful. It’s not just a case of the operational payback through energy savings, but also the potential benefits by improving their product or service, whatever their size or role is in the sector.

This is very much a global approach to retailing as evidenced by the BREEAM Awards 2017, where Lidl’s new store in Vaxjo, Sweden took home the award for the world’s greenest new retail building. This is a brand new concept for a chain that continues to shake up the sector and is growing rapidly across Europe. Gaining BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification was part of a long-term approach to value adding for Lidl and is seen as a big step toward becoming a leading sustainable retailer. It wasn’t only about creating a truly sustainable, energy-efficient store but also addressed the health and wellbeing of staff and shoppers.

Ultimately it is about ensuring both the people who work there and the customers have a good experience. In the case of Lidl, it is enhancing the quality of its existing buildings. It has increased its market share and is also looking to improve the way its buildings are constructed and how they look, so much so they are winning BREEAM awards.

BREEAM has become a driver to value, and while for some it may not be a silver bullet, it can demonstrate how the sector can get the most out of their buildings. A change of mindset might be needed, particularly from those retailers who place more of an emphasis on product placement. They will need to widen their thinking and look at the sustainability route.

BREEAM Accredited Professionals can help retailers at the design stage and get the best value out of BREEAM. They can help challenge design decisions to ensure choices made will result in the most efficient and sustainable retail building. Early involvement will make the difference and help retailers achieve their own priorities as part of the certification process.

For more information see: BREEAM and retail.

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