Climate-smart shopping destination

Swedish shopping mall Väla is set to become energy self-sufficient.

Thanks to digitisation, Väla shopping mall has made substantial energy savings and is now at the cutting edge of high technology.

A little way outside Helsingborg is the Väla commercial area. With 200 stores and 11.5 million visitors a year, which is equivalent to 200,000 people a week, Väla is one of Sweden’s biggest shopping destinations.

 

Energy consumption is the single biggest cost to the commercial area, and substantial energy savings have long been a high priority for the property owner. With Desigo, the digital operating and monitoring system from Siemens, the goals could be reached by a large margin. Since the work started, energy consumption at the property has decreased by 35 percent. A gain for the environment and Väla’s economy alike.

 

“Before embarking on the project, we said that the initiatives should be visible on the bottom line to be sure that it would be prioritised over time,” says Fredrik Arvidsson, Operations Manager at Väla.

"Best Shopping Mall" for the tenth time

In addition to the major energy savings, the new system would also turn out to have a positive effect on sales in the stores. With Desigo, it is possible to have different temperatures, ventilation and lighting in different parts of the commercial area. This way, the climate in the stores can be adjusted as needed.

 

“A store selling a lot of outerwear, for example, needs a cooler indoor environment because sales are stimulated by lower temperatures, while another shop that sells underwear needs it to be warmer. It works! In surveys of visitors and tenants, Väla gets high ratings for its indoor climate,” says Fredrik Arvidsson.

 

In other words, the environmental work and the improved indoor climate in the commercial area is a valued investment among tenants. Last year, Väla was named Best Shopping Mall for the tenth time, in competition with 29 other shopping malls in Sweden. It is the first time in the history of the “Fastighetsbarometer” (property barometer) survey that a shopping mall has been given the top rating by its tenants for ten consecutive years.

Good indoor climate, low energy consumption

When deciding to embark on the project to reduce energy consumption at Väla, a Siemens service was chosen whereby technicians work remotely and analyse and update operating settings in real time. This ensures that everything works and that a good indoor climate is created with as little energy consumption as possible.

 

“The Desigo system constantly scans the facilities and immediately detects if something is wrong, for example if a ventilation unit stops working, allowing us to fix it immediately,” explains Mats Jönsson, Energy Controller at Siemens.

 

He has been part of the project from early on and introduced some of Siemens’ energy services to Väla before the cooperation began in 2012. Just a few years later, Väla wanted to further reduce its energy consumption, and so invested in more high-tech solutions. This resulted in everything from switching ventilation units to installing a solar photovoltaic system on the roof, which would become the largest solar photovoltaic system in Sweden.

Once we have reached the goal, we will symbolically cut the power line and district heating line to the area.
Fredrik Arvidsson, Operations Manager at Väla

“The solar system is also connected to Desigo. This way, I receive data from all the different systems at Väla, giving me an overall perspective,” says Mats Jönsson.

 

He believes that the key to ensuring the success of a project as large as the project at Väla is close cooperation.

 

“We have an energy group comprised of the operations manager and consultants, which meets every six weeks. We evaluate the latest period and set new goals. It’s an enjoyable and effective way of working together. Everyone is driven towards the same goal. It has clearly been the main reason for the work going so well,” he says.

Continuous optimization of the operating system 

The energy group continuously develops the operating system to accommodate new changes taking place at Väla.

 

“When we started working on energy savings, we just had one large building housing 180 stores. Today, we have extended it, built several new buildings and bought up nearby properties. We have gone from being a shopping mall to a large commercial area,” says Fredrik Arvidsson.

 

Following the installation of the new operating and monitoring system, clear goals were set. The first goal was to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent just by optimising the system.

 

“Today, the adjustments we make are relatively minor, whereas we previously had to make major changes,” says Fredrik Arvidsson.

Becoming self-sufficient

The next step for the commercial area is to create a zero zone ahead of 2023. This means that the properties at Väla must become self-sufficient when it comes to property energy. Within the zero vision, a plan is already in place for how 85 percent of purchased energy will be eliminated.

 

“Once we have reached the goal, we will symbolically cut the power line and district heating line to the area, as we will have reduced our consumption as much as we possibly can and produce what we need,” says Fredrik Arvidsson.

2020-02-20

Picture credits: Siemens AG

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