When the world was going through COVID-19 and lockdowns, I for one, forgot what life before COVID was like. With bustling streets and open shops and crowded cinemas. The biggest shift in trend was shopping style. It went from hitting the stores in person during sale to opening multiple tabs on your laptop for some online shopping so you wouldn’t miss the latest lines. Now, one may think that that is the most sustainable manner a person can shop through but what about those gigantic shopping malls that occupy a vast amount of land and employ thousands of workers. There must be a way to make these big buildings eco-friendly too especially due to their heavy dependence on water usage and electricity consumption along with plastic usage.
Shopping malls have long been criticized for their impact on the environment, from the energy consumed by their lighting and HVAC systems to the waste generated by their stores and food courts. However, there are several ways that shopping malls can become more sustainable and eco-friendly. Here are some suggestions:
- Energy Efficiency: shopping malls can save energy and reduce their carbon footprint by installing energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and other equipment. This can include using LED lights, using motion sensors to turn off lights when not in use, and installing solar panels to generate renewable energy.
- Water Conservation: Malls can also reduce water consumption by using low-flow toilets and faucets, and by installing rainwater harvesting systems to collect and reuse rainwater for landscaping and other non-potable uses.
- Waste Reduction: Shopping malls can reduce waste by encouraging tenants to use eco-friendly packaging and by providing recycling bins throughout the mall. They can also compost food waste from their food courts and restaurants.
- Sustainable Design: When building or renovating shopping malls, sustainable design principles can be used to reduce energy use and waste. For example, green roofs can be installed to reduce heat absorption, and materials can be chosen based on their sustainability, such as using recycled or reclaimed materials.
- Transportation: Encouraging public transportation use or building bike lanes and pedestrian paths around the shopping center can make it easier for shoppers to reach the mall while reducing the carbon footprint of their travel.
- Sustainable Tenants: Malls can choose tenants that prioritize sustainability in their business practices, such as retailers that use eco-friendly materials or restaurants that source ingredients locally and sustainably.
- Education and Awareness: Finally, shopping malls can educate their customers about sustainability and encourage them to adopt eco-friendly practices. This can be done through signage, educational events, and partnerships with local environmental organizations.
Several malls all across the globe have adapted these environment-friendly measures to ensure that the effect that these developments would have on global warming is extremely minute. From Canada to Dubai, this positive change is seen everywhere in small or big manners. So the next time you go to the mall and see one of those feedback forms around every shop or near the reception make sure you mention the way you think the establishment could be more involved in making the environment better.