Malls and the Environment: Environmentally-friendly initiatives

Nov. 25, 2013
Robert Carr, National Real Estate Investor

Malls Content with Behind-the-Scenes Green

As the malls get ready for Black Friday, there's a chance that shoppers may notice the millions of dollars spent there this past year on environmentally-friendly initiatives – but it's not likely.

As opposed to other property types, the biggest users of the retail are visitors, not employees or residents, and unless there's a lot of attention drawn to how much environmental work is being done, the average shopper is more worried about getting good deals instead of saving the Earth.

“I think there's a small percentage who may choose a mall based on what we do, but most will just go local regardless,” says Jeff Bedell, vice president of sustainability for Macerich. “It's not like office buildings, where in some markets they don't dare open something that's not LEED Gold certified. I think if we hung huge banners telling how much we're saving with solar power and greenhouse gases, they would think it's cool, but I'm not sure it would affect their shopping decisions.”

The mall owners have been working to save the planet, however. Most companies such as Simon Property Group, Taubman, Macerich and General Growth Properties (GGP) are already well into five-year plans of perfecting ways to conserve water and recycle waste, as well as using centralized management systems to save electricity and generate energy.

In a recent green report, GGP CEO Sandeep Mathrani said his Chicago-based firm has implemented a number of strategically-planned initiatives since 2012, including an energy management system (EMS) and solar panels to supply power to properties. “Our initiatives garnered positive results,” he says. “We will continue exploring practices that not only lower our carbon footprint, but also add value to our communities, retailers, consumers, employees and shareholders.”

The GGP sustainable development team, which reports to Mathrani, has goals to minimize environmental impact, increase energy efficiency…(read the complete article)

NY Deal Making 2018