Oberoi Mall, India’s first LEED gold rated mall under EBO&M category

Oberoi Mall

Shopping malls are the emerging trend in the Retail Industry. Emergence of malls has proved that shopping is no longer just a buying activity – it has become synonymous with splurging time and money. Along with 100’s of global brands, inclusion of amenities like restaurants, multiplexes, games arena and car parks etc., has translated a mall into a complete family hangout place. Mall operators are continuously focusing on strategies to enhance comfort, luxury and suitability to attract more and more consumers.

Thus over years malls, has transformed into a big enclosed building. Air-conditioning has become absolute necessity rather than luxury which operates through-out the day to provide desired level of comfort and respite from the heat outside. Bright and colourful lighting draws attention of consumers to each and every corner. Escalators, elevators ensure minimum fatigue.
However the flip side of such transformation is that millions of units of electricity are consumed, gallons of water are wasted and tons of waste is generated.

At one side there is shortage of electricity, millions living in darkness with limited water supply even for drinking. Rise in pollution and CO2 emissions resulting in global warming and climate change. Thus at times where the resources are scarce, lots of questions arises on such a transformation.

Thus, when very existence of malls is being questioned, “Oberoi Mall” at Mumbai has demonstrated that even such resource intense buildings can co-exist in harmony with environment, economy and the entire society.

Oberoi Mall at Goregaon, Mumbai, demonstrated sustainable performance and has become the first mall in India to achieve USGBC LEED existing building rating system under operation and maintenance category.

Green building: Green building is a one which consumes less water, is energy efficient, uses eco-friendly building materials, generates less waste and apart from that provides comfortable environment for its inhabitants

USGBC: United States green building council is a certifying body which evaluates and certifies the building demonstrating the sustainable performance as a green building

LEED: LEED stands for leadership in energy efficiency and environmental design. It is basically a set of standards used to design, build and operate a green building

EB O&M: It stands for existing building operation and maintenance. It is one of the categories of LEED in which operational buildings can be rated as green. It consists of set of standards and best management practices.

Why Green?
With growing mall footprints in India, Oberoi realty wanted to prove that sustainable practices can reduce environmental impacts of resource intensive buildings like malls. With more than 5 years of operation, Oberoi mall had already gained tremendous popularity and occupied significant position in minds of customers and retailers. Now along with meeting business goals and strategies, Oberoi realty wanted to make a contribution to the environment by conserving and utilising resources efficiently. Operators of the mall thought that if successful implementation of high performance, affordable and environmentally sound practices in their building could evolve new trend in the entire retail industry. This would not only promote good and green culture but also give a thrust to adoption of sustainable practices in field of O&M.

With this intent Oberoi mall decided to go in for green building certification under LEED EB – O&M category.

As the building considered for certification was mall, there were lots of challenges which the project team had to face.

  • Mall had more than 100’s of retailers with 1500+ regular occupants and 3000+ visitors. There were different uses in the mall i.e. retails, restaurants, food court, movie theatre, games arena etc.
  • Energy and water consumption was a major area to focus but there was limited scope in reducing the same without disturbing the normal operations and the comfort for consumers.
  • As this was one of the very first projects of its kind, there was Lack of awareness of various international standards, certifications and guidelines available as per LEED USGBC standards (GS, SCAQMD, San-Francisco Tier III, FDA, APPA, I-Beam etc.).
  • Lack of local market to procure goods and materials complying with the global standards.
  • As this mall was already operational and running successfully motivating and sensitising retailers to participate in the process was it a task.
  • Huge parking areas is a disadvantage, as consumption related to same is added without the area being taken into calculation.

To over-come this challenges, the Oberoi mall engaged Godrej and Boyce as their green building consultant to guide them through the entire process of certification. Godrej and Boyce provided them with comprehensive green building solution which included facilitation, retro- commissioning and waste stream audit.

Green features of the mall:
The Oberoi mall was already implementing some of the best practices and thus wanted to get acknowledgement for their efforts. Similarly, they also wanted to adopt some of the international standards in their process. Some of their efforts are as highlighted below:

Sustainable sites

  • Building exterior and hardscape maintenance: use of environmentally preferred practices for maintaining building exteriors. Using of manual methods effectively to maintain high level of cleanliness. Using green seal certified chemicals for cleaning activities. (As an improvement the project here switched to 100 percent green seal chemicals for exterior housekeeping activity)
  • Alternative commuting transportation: Conducting survey and demonstrating than more than 85 percent of the regular building occupants use mass/public transportation. (The project made a special efforts by conducting survey in which more than 1000’s of the occupants participated)
  • Storm water quantity control: Adequate green areas are maintained on-site to reduce the rainwater run-off. Providing Rain water harvesting pits to harvest more than 100 cum of water (15 percent reduction in run-off). Regular and on-going maintenance activity for storm water system. (This was a regular practice which got acknowledgement from USGBC)
  • Heat Island Effect – Non Roof: The building has provided 100 percent of parking under cover i.e. in basement. (This was a part of building design which got acknowledgement from USGBC)

Water efficiency

  • Plumbing fixture efficiency: The project was already using Dual Flush WC and sensor based urinals which meet the minimum flow rates required as per USGBC. However they retrofitted all their faucets with aerators which helped them to achieve overall water use reduction of 43.6 percent when compared to USGBC EBO&M standards.
  • Water performance measurement: The project had water sub-meters in place which measures the total water consumption of the building. (The project installed additional sub-meters to measure water consumption and took daily readings during the performance period)
  • Water efficient landscaping: The project used 100 percent of treated water for landscaping. (The project already had an STP which enabled them to get this point)

Energy efficiency

  • Energy efficiency – planning, documentation and opportunity assessment: The project already had a regular, planned and ongoing PM practices. Additionally Godrej and Boyce documented System Description and Building Operation Plan. Also G&B conducted preliminary walkthrough audit to ensure that the mandatory requirements are met.
  • Energy performance: The project used Case 2 calculator and used Energy star Portfolio manager to demonstrate energy efficiency which is 23 percentile over the national median. The project already had energy management program in place. They were constantly monitoring energy consumption and implemented various measures to enhance the energy efficiency. Some of these measures were already part of design and some were additionally implemented which are as listed below:
  1. CFL lamps for general lighting
  2. LED Lamps for hoarding
  3. Lux Level sensors for interior and exterior lights
  4. Occupancy sensors to control lighting
  5. Hydro pneumatic pumps
  6. Sky Lighting
  7. Efficient air-cooled screw chillers
  8. Group control for elevators
  9. VFD for elevators, escalators
  10. Automatic PF control
  11. Building management system for operating the building
  12. Secondary Chilled water pumping with VFD
  13. Lighting Transformer
  • Eco-friendly refrigerants: The project used environment friendly HFC based R-134 refrigerant for HVAC as well as for commercial refrigerators.
  • Existing building commissioning – investigation, implementation and continual improvement: Godrej and Boyce for the first time introduced the concept of the retro-commissioning to the mall operators. The goal was to evaluate the current performance of the building systems and identify measures to enhance the energy efficiency. G&B did implement retro-commissioning activities. Oberoi mall also implemented some of the low cost measures as follows:
  1. Chillers sequence control
  2. Replacement of belts and filters
  3. Water balancing
  4. Modification of operation logic of chillers
  5. Adjusting chilled water set-point
  • Building management system: The project already had a BMS which is used to control all the major building systems. Specifically for the certification, the project did calibration of all the sensors.
  • Energy metering: The project already had energy sub-meters to monitor all the major energy using building systems. Energy meters are BMS compatible and are monitored online.
  • Emission reduction reporting: The project used energy star portfolio manager for reporting the emissions. Emissions are based on the energy consumptions

Indoor environment quality:

  • Fresh air ventilation: The project has designed a AC system with fresh air quantity which exceeds requirement of ASHRAE by 30 percent
  • No smoking: Entire Mall and its premises are already declared as No Smoking.
  • Green cleaning policy: Green seal certified chemicals were already used for the housekeeping activity. However for the certification the project team formulated a formal policy which provided guideline for use of green chemicals for housekeeping activity.
  • Facility alteration and addition: The project team formulated guidelines which would provide best management practices to maintain IAQ during renovation activity.
  • Occupant comfort survey: The project team conducted comfort survey to evaluate level of comfort of the regular building occupants.
    Sustainable cleaning products and materials: The project team uses green seal certified chemicals which is the major cost incurred for cleaning materials
  • Sustainable cleaning equipment: Sustainable cleaning equipment (electrical with variable feed pump and one which uses only water) are used for building housekeeping activity.
  • Pollutant source control: The building installed entry way mats to control the pollutants.

Overall benefits:

  • The Oberoi mall was able to demonstrate that even malls can be operated with reduced environmental impact. Through EB rating they were able to demonstrate that water consumption, energy consumption of the Malls is within the internationally acceptable standards.
  • The retro-fitting of plumbing fixture enable them to get 30-40 percent water use reduction.
  • They were able to formulate the structured approach for energy management activities. EB rating helped to establish baselines and also provided them with platform to continuously monitor the performance and enhance the overall efficiency.
  • They were exposed to international standards by the tools like energy star portfolio manager. The energy star portfolio manager also provided structured approach to map the energy performance year on year. This also helped to map the current level CO2 emissions with respect to energy consumption.
  • By conducting transportation survey they were able to understand that majority of the occupant uses mass transportation. This would help the project to reduce the environmental impact as pollution due to transportation was reduced.
    EB also helped to structure and align the regular O&M documents like checklist, operational plan etc with international standards.
  • Apart from water and energy, the EB rating also focused on the other aspects of operation like housekeeping and waste management.
  • Thus this enabled the Mall operators to formulate and strategise environmental preferable practices even in these areas
  • They procured green seal housekeeping chemicals which reduces impact on human health
  • They conducted waste stream audit and were able to set up a procedure the map the waste collection and disposal.
  • They switched to low mercury lamp which would further reduce the environmental impact associated with disposal of the same

Green education:
Oberoi mall has always been sensitive towards environment and have also carried out various activities in past to promote green. The project team has also earned one innovation point for spreading green message

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