Adopting a sustainable approach to retailing.

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Adopting a sustainable approach to retailing.

Gary Wilburn: Director of Design and Sustainability. Adopting a sustainable, resilient approach to Retail Design is becoming ever more attractive to the operator, developer and landlord. With energy costs rising and environmental awareness ever more prominent in the consumer’s daily routine, we need to consider how adopting a sustainable approach can be of benefit to your business as well as the planet. Whether the economy is strong or challenging, differentiating your offer from the crowd is an essential aim and developing a sustainable strategy can inspire your team, create real difference and develop unique customer appeal. Making savings in your operation through reduced energy costs, environmentally focussed distribution and transportation or simply the behaviour of your team are often reliant on a state of mind change and are in some cases achieved at no cost. Changing your strategy and applying proven sustainable measures can bring huge dividend, a great example of this can be seen on one of our recently completed new-build projects in the UK. Peppa Pig World at Paultons Family Theme Park has, in it’s first year of trading increased foot-fall from 470,000 to 1.1 million, an unbelievable achievement in the current austere times we are experiencing. More to the point the average spend has increased due to the secondary retail and catering sales and all has been enhanced by a low energy, minimal impact building which is the centrepiece of this new 3.5acre, £5.5 million facility. The client had not previously built buildings with any real insulation or indeed any energy strategy at all, and was not familiar or particularly keen on anything remotely sustainable. Combined with the benefits of wildflower roofing and retention of all excavated material on site to help reduce visual impact at the rear of the building, the client and local authorities immediately grasped the attractiveness and cost benefits of such a solution. The planners supported the application and we gained unanimous approval in a “Greenfield”– National Park Location. At the detailed design stage we threw in a key ace card to swing the client fully behind a highly insulated, low energy low operational cost build. The ventilation and cooling demands in a heavily used building that needs to accommodate up to 300 people, many of them children running around at full pelt, are considerable. We prepared comparative costs for a conventional mechanically ventilated and air-conditioned system costing £340,000 plus it’s lifetime energy costs, with a wind catcher and cross ventilation solution costing £52,000 (also saving on the floorspace for a plant room) and no energy costs to operate. The building with its seven windcatchers has now been operating for 2 full seasons with record attendances on the park. We’ve been able to keep a close eye on the building’s performance as it is just down the road from our offices. When we take clients, consultants or colleagues into the building in the hottest weather they always ask where the air conditioning is located. When they are told there isn’t any, they are staggered, and some don’t believe us! As a result all concerned are committed to adopting similar installations on the future buildings on the development: RESULT! Maybe it’s time you gave real thought to a sustainable strategy of your own?