Sumo Salad in Barangaroo

The Footprint Company says retail tenants could double their profits if they implemented some serious energy efficiency measures. A new predictive app should help, says its CEO Dr Caroline Noller after winning a sustainability award for its work at Barangaroo.

Most retail tenants use a lot of energy, particularly food tenants with their fridges and fryers, but unfortunately controls and regulations to improve energy efficiency in retail are pretty much non-existent.

The Footprint Company, however, says the sector could quite possibly double most retail profits by improving its energy efficiency.

The company has recently been recognised alongside Lendlease for an Australian Construction Award (winning the Sustainable Construction Award) for its work improving the energy efficiency performance of Barangaroo retail occupants.

Through the award-winning program, there’s been a 32 per cent improvement in energy efficiency across the precinct’s substantial retail footprint where compared to a business as usual approach. This amounts to a saving on power equivalent to the electricity needed for 740 apartments.

All aspects in the energy consumption chain were considered, from leasing, legal, design and assessment to delivery, validation and operations.

The company’s chief executive officer Dr Caroline Noller said the results demonstrate that increasing the energy efficiency of retail tenants is viable and desirable from an economic and environmental perspective.

Dr Noller told The Fifth Estate that it was important for this kind of work to be recognised because retail largely misses out on the benefits of energy efficiency, and that savings are almost exclusive to base building and large commercial tenants.

This is despite retail accounting for around 41 per cent of total non-residential carbon emissions per year.

She said that achieving wider recognition for these significant outcomes “adds weight to the argument for enshrining a NABERS style performance requirement as mandatory for retail.”

Some of the reasons retail gets left behind are because it’s delivered in a hurry right at the end at the development, she said.

There’s also a lack of designer and tenant (and employee) knowledge of energy efficient design and operations.

As a result, most businesses end up lumped with an expensive operational legacy.

Dr Noller also said that most stakeholders, including energy efficiency rating schemes and programs, have typically shied away from retail because it’s perceived as “too hard.”

“It’s just such a blank space.”

GPT has also leveraged The Footprint Company’s expertise and software to improve the energy efficiency performance of its retail tenants. Dr Noller said that the Lendlease and GPT retail teams are “the unsung heroes” of energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings.

New app will help retail tenants with predictive data about their energy efficiency

The company has also now created an AI predictive tool that allows tenants to quickly and easily forecast the energy intensity of their tenancies.

To be launched soon, the tenant will provide details such as the size of tenancy and number of freezers, and the tool will provide a predictive rating from one to six. The online tool would also model the energy saving that could be achieved if energy efficiency tweaks are made.

Dr Noller said the tool will be rolled out in Australia first but because energy intensity in tenancies are pretty uniform all over the world, it could eventually go global.

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