Hang Lung plays 'green' card in shopping malls

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 September, 2010, 12:00am

Building 'green' features into new shopping centres on the mainland is becoming standard practice for developers seeking a selling edge in the highly competitive market, consultants say.

Among the drawcards of such environmentally sensitive projects is a big reduction in energy bills, achieved by using special glazing that controls heat transfer through windows, as well as improved insulation methods.

'In dollar terms, we will achieve savings of about 10 million yuan (HK$11.57 million) on electricity bills at the Olympia 66 development in Dalian,' said Vincent Tse, managing director of buildings for China at Parsons Brinckerhoff, which is a consultant to the project.

Hang Lung Properties appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff as a consultant on its mega shopping centre in Dalian, Liaoning, to help it qualify for gold-level certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) scheme.

The international benchmark for sustainable architecture is issued by the US Green Building Council. A gold-level certification assures tenants and property portfolio managers that the building uses resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings and may also provide healthier work and living environments, which contributes to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort.

Olympia 66 would be equipped with ground-source water heat pumps that extract and dissipate heat from the building into the ground in summer and vice versa in winter, Tse said.

'As Dalian is a port city, temperatures often drop below zero in winter. Using ground-source water [heat pumps] will help consume less energy,' he said. The seven-storey, 221,900 square metre Olympia 66 will be completed in 2015.

Last week, Hang Lung announced that its Palace 66, which opened on July 26 in Liaoning's Shenyang, had attained a gold-level Leed Core and Shell Development Certification. It is the first completed shopping centre on the mainland to have attained such certification.

The developer has embarked on a HK$40 billion plan to build seven shopping centres outside Shanghai. That includes malls in Jinan, Shenyang, Tianjin and Wuxi. In Shanghai, it owns Plaza 66, which was completed in 2001, and The Grand Gateway, which was opened in 2005.

To improve access to Olympia 66, the developer is in talks with the city government to build an underground tunnel to link the mall with the nearest station along the metro system, now under construction.

'We have made the suggestion to the city government and reserved an exit for future use,' said Chapman Lam, divisional director for transport engineering at MVA Hong Kong. MVA is the transport consultant for Olympia 66.

Lam said the metro was due to open in 2013. 'Without the tunnel, shoppers would have to walk for several minutes on the ground level from the metro station to Olympia 66. It would be an unpleasant walk in winter, even for a short distance, as temperatures in Dalian are freezing.'

William Ko, executive director of Hang Lung, said it was too early to estimate the volume of shopping traffic likely to be attracted to Olympia 66. By way of example, he said, its 130,000 sqmetre The Grand Gateway in Shanghai drew about 500,000 visitors last weekend.