Energy and shopping centres

Trafford Centre, Arndale Centre, St David's, Centre MK and Meadowhall have the biggest carbon footprints

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » Energy and shopping centres

Published: 24 December 2015

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod


Research from GeoPhy shows that the 21 largest shopping centres in the UK have a combined carbon footprint equivalent to all the homes in Manchester.

7.5m tonnes of CO2

With more than 4,000 stores between them, these centres are responsible for a carbon footprint of approximately 7,500,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is equivalent to about 430,000 homes, or all the residential accommodation in the city of Manchester.

Data also reveal that the top 15 shopping centres alone account for 5,500,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 313,000 homes or a city the size of Nottingham.

CO2 at shopping centres

According to the GeoPhy research, the shopping centres with the largest total CO2 footprint are The Trafford Centre and Arndale Centre in Greater Manchester, St David’s in Cardiff, Centre MK in Milton Keynes and Meadowhall Mall in Sheffield.

‘Our figures show the sorts of CO2 emissions associated with some of the most popular shopping centres, where many people are currently buying their Christmas presents. In addition to the energy use from bright lights and store heaters, people who drive to shop will produce a lot more CO2 than those who make use of public transport.’

‘While we can all exercise personal responsibility for carbon reduction, it is also the government’s responsibility to provide appropriate public transport to keep carbon emissions down. Alongside regulation this is a tangible measure it can take to fulfil environmental obligations.’

Teun van den Dries, GeoPhy CEO and founder

The transport factor

The main difference is not so much in the buildings themselves, but in the travel to and from the centre that – on average – accounts for over 90% of the total carbon footprint.

The research takes into account both the ‘direct carbon footprint’, which includes energy use for lights, heating and cooling, and also factors in the travel emissions to and from the centre.

Embracing technology

GeoPhy’s research results are based on information shopping centres are required to publish every year to extract data on energy use, including data points from heating and lighting to sewage and waste disposal.

‘Technology has an important role to play in enabling businesses and investors across a variety of sectors, including retail, to understand their CO2 emissions. The recent climate conference in Paris has put CO2 emissions at the forefront of people’s minds, and for the financial services industry, particularly asset managers whose property portfolios have large carbon footprints.

‘Hitherto it has been hard for those managing buildings and property portfolios to understand their CO2 emissions. Today, smart tools enable asset managers to read and analyse large amounts of data, allowing them to benchmark their CO2 emissions and thus give themselves a baseline from which to reduce their carbon footprint.’

Teun van den Dries, GeoPhy CEO and founder

Click here to find out more about property data experts GeoPhy.

Here's More Energy & Climate News & Features