The repositioning of our centres offers a sustainable future for tenants and shoppers
Consumer preferences and habits are evolving, accelerated in recent years by the growth of e-commerce and Covid-19, and of course, climate change.
Growing awareness among people from all walks of life that climate change represents perhaps the challenge of our time – outside of catastrophic war – is reshaping much of what we do, and how we do it.
Hyprop’s purpose is to create safe environments and opportunities for people to connect and have meaningful and authentic experiences. As our centres are adapting to changing consumer habits and retail expectations, they are being recalibrated for a sustainable future.
Independent research tells us that buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions and that by 2040, 66% of the global building stock will be stock which exists today - without upgrading they will still be emitting greenhouse gases.
We have long recognised the need to upgrade our centres and have been reporting on our progress in investor and media reports in recent years. Our environmental strategy will significantly alter the way our centres operate and the impact they have.
In so doing, we must make sense of several apparent contradictions. We are continually improving the centre experience for tenants and their customers while simultaneously managing the costs of utilities and centre management. We are investing in the changes needed to reduce the environmental impact of the centres while building resilience to withstand future shocks and chronic stresses.
At Hyprop, we embrace the need to do what we can, and work with our tenants and their customers to commit to a shared vision of next generation centres that meet the needs of all who use them, both today and well into the future.
It’s common purpose that Hyprop’s direct sphere of impact is around Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which account for 20% of the total impact from the centres, and so the partnership with tenants and customers is critical to reduce Scope 3 emissions.
We are working on updating tenant criteria documents with a focus on energy, water and waste, working with tenants on evolving “house rules” to ensure we all reduce our carbon and water footprint in line with Hyprop’s strategy. Ideas under consideration include green leases, fitout requirements and tenant energy audits.
For our part, we have an active strategy and programme to make our centres more environmentally sustainable. We are guided by global targets to reduce emissions, and are doing so across a range of projects, from building management, our use of electricity and solar power, to water and waste.
We have committed ourselves to five of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, choosing those we consider most aligned with our brand and our business, being SDG 1, 6, 7, 12 and 13. They provide our overarching framework to shape, steer, communicate and report our sustainability strategies, goals and activities.
Smart building management
Hyprop has commenced a pilot project at Clearwater Mall with IoT.nxt to implement a smart solution to better manage centre infrastructure and improve energy, water, and waste management.
The Smart Building and Utilities Management solution will improve preventative maintenance and increase operational efficiency, integrating the various individually managed systems onto a single platform while the data analytics capabilities will improve sustainability insights by aggregating data and presenting consolidated and customizable reports.
Clearwater Mall will have new levels of visibility, control, automation, and actionable information, with data gathered from the fire alarm control panel, the generator controllers, RMS Cloud platform (energy and water consumption), package units FEC controllers, chiller PLCs, solar PVs, LP gas, refrigerant, diesel accounting system, refuse/landfill waste management system, BMS, controllers and transformers.
The project is being implemented in phases. Once fully operational and we have “connected the unconnected”, Hyprop will access an IoT.nxt platform of big data analytics that can drive multiple initiatives to reduce costs and reach net-zero water, waste and carbon emissions targets.
Electricity forms a large portion of our operational spend and energy efficiency is therefore a financial and environmental imperative – more so given the unreliable nature of electricity supply in South Africa.
We reported in our 2021 annual report that we had installed 13 698 solar panels at our Gauteng centres at a cost of R56 million. These projects, together with the existing solar plant at Clearwater Mall (installed between 2014 and 2017), generated 10 629 595 kWh of electricity between completion and 30 June 2021 (equivalent to 6% of electricity consumed in the period) and savings of R18 million in electricity costs.
The next phase to increase solar capacity, at an investment of R70 million, is planned for Woodlands, Clearwater Mall and Rosebank Mall. The combined size of the three installations is 6 982 kWp.
Our waste audits assessed waste management technology and equipment available on the market. We evaluated each of our centres and will begin planned upgrades to six centres in June.
We recently completed energy audits at our properties to establish the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) baseline and obtain clear low-cost/no cost and capital recommendations on the way forward.
The energy audits provided insight into Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in the centre areas under landlord control. Scope-3 (tenant areas) was not part of the process. We now have a list of recommendations for ‘quick-wins’ (low cost with a high yield) and then longer-term options (higher cost, more complex to implement such as solar) aimed at reducing overall energy consumption.
We are currently implementing some of the ‘quick-wins’ and will also look at some of the longer-term options at each mall.
The audit of the refrigerants used in all air-conditioning plants in our buildings in South Africa has been completed and we will phase out any remaining ozone depleting refrigerants (ODP) in our portfolio with zero ODP refrigerants that also have a lower global warming potential (GWP). The process started in 2022, with the bulk (13 942 kg) to be replaced by 2030 and the balance of 4 441 kg to be replaced by 2035.
We recognise water resource management is a global challenge, more so in water scarce countries such as South Africa.
We are always looking to introduce opportunities to reduce water consumption, and they include installing water-efficient equipment throughout our properties and improving our measurement and monitoring standards.
We work with our stakeholders, particularly our tenants and shoppers, to reduce water consumption and water efficiency is considered when choosing technical plant and equipment such as toilets, urinals, taps and air-conditioning systems for all new developments, renovations and upgrades.
Hyprop monitors bulk water consumption at centres daily to identify unusual patterns that might indicate leaks.
Hyprop is helping to save and manage water sources by:
- Continuing to rollout waterless urinals and Propelair low flush volume toilets Notably, the pilot project at Clearwater Mall delivered savings of 70%
- Phasing in the use of green chemicals in terms of Green Star SA requirements to reduce water pollution
- Avoiding all hazardous waste going to landfill to prevent unwanted leaking of hazardous waste into groundwater
We are committed to the meeting the targets we have set, and our approach is informed by best practice, proven methods, ease of implementation, and the benefit-to-cost ratio of retrofitting green-design principles to existing buildings.
Hyprop is one of thousands of companies around the world who are responding to the increasingly evident threats of climate change, often in harmony with or ahead of stakeholder sentiment, investor pressure or regulatory requirement.
For our part, we know we will succeed in adapting to climate change through a collective effort that includes ourselves as the creator and manager of places where people meet and shop, together with the committed support of retailers, suppliers, and shoppers.