These days, it's hard to be wowed or even mildly surprised by a shopping centre. But Cork's suburban retail precinct is a whole different story. Mahon Point Shopping Centre doesn't just have a strong sustainability focus — it's the most sustainable shopping centre in Ireland.
In 2015 Mahon Point Shopping Centre became the first building in Ireland to be accredited BREEAM in use certification. BREEAM is the world`s longest established and most widely used method of assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings.
Describing the journey so far is general manager, Justin Young, who started his role in Mahon Point in 2008, "the business is a very different business from the one when I started. It’s a very changed industry," he said.
Justin saw the importance of making changes for the better, for both the customers and the businesses that trade out of Mahon Point;
Mahon Point has even taken transport into consideration and offers bus services within the site offering 100 set downs per day, further reducing their greenhouse gases.
For Justin, taking a leap into the realm of climate-friendly business is a step-by-step process, "it's something that's considered through all decision-making processes and it's central to everything we do. (When making decisions) we ask ourselves; is there an element of sustainability here? It's expensive but worth it for the longer-term picture. We'd like to leave our legacy in a better place from how we got it."
This project will and has already demonstrated how sustainability can unlock a real competitive advantage for shopping centres in Ireland and around the world.
Everyone is now aware of the global implications of carbon and Justin's main focus is to reduce their carbon footprint to help contribute to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and Mahon Point is going above and beyond to combat climate change, "we want to be proactive in terms of our contribution to this global issue."
Justin is aware that combating climate change necessitates bridging the gap between local acts and global effects—because thinking globally and acting appropriately on a local level presupposes global understanding.
"It's about talking to staff and retailers and introducing different initiatives from compostable straws and cups for all of our food retailers to the use of recyclable materials where possible and how we provide services. We tend to deal with quite a few stakeholders, so we try to be conscious of everything we do. It's a global issue but we're bringing it back to micro-level."
Over the years Mahon has undertaken many projects including:
- EV Charging
- Solar Panels
- LED lighting
- Green Electricity
- Own water well
- Zero waste going to landfill
Mahon Point's existing solar panels already provide 160,000kwh of electricity and they aim to provide 25% of their electrical requirement by next year. It's also in the final phase of further converting the centre to LED lighting. They're also hoping to offer EV chargers to all manufacturers next year.
But the list will continue, "It's an evolving process and technology is improving all the time".
For more information visit www.mahonpointsc.ie