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Elliott’s Field, Rugby – still learning lessons two years on


With the opening of the second phase of Elliott’s Field Retail Park, Rugby, two years ago, Hammerson achieved two world firsts: the first ‘zero regulated carbon’ shopping park globally, and the first shopping park to be awarded a ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ rating. It represented a significant milestone in our journey to becoming Net Positive for carbon, resource-use, water, and socio-economic impacts by 2030.

From the outset, the scheme was designed to be carbon neutral for total onsite regulated energy demand – that covers lighting, air conditioning, heating, and hot water emissions. To achieve this, we committed to minimising demand and supplying the residual requirement through onsite-generated renewable power. We also worked closely with our retailers to ensure the units were as energy efficient as possible, so that all remaining regulated electricity demand could be provided by the output from the onsite 775kW PV array.

Two years’ on, we now have enough data to assess Elliott’s Field’s actual operational performance. That’s really important, as we can take all that we’ve learnt from this park and apply it to other developments.

Our key findings to date include:

  • 29% lower energy consumption on average compared to similar stores in the retail parks portfolio
  • 143 tonnes of carbon saved as a result of fit outs being more energy efficient
  • 130 tonnes of additional carbon saved from the roof top PV
  • 34% lower energy consumption on average compared to predicted modelling for stores with high efficiency Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) comfort conditioning units compared to other VRF units available on the market

Making the fit-outs as efficient as possible was crucial. By working closely with each brands’ technical teams and including specifications in the heads of terms before leases exchanged, we were able to drive a step-change in the units’ energy efficiency. A really important part of that was the efficacy of the display and task lighting, and the efficacy of the heat pumps.

We carried out detailed modelling before the park was built to help us forecast the expected emissions levels at the development, and the likely impact of our proposed solutions. In practice, energy consumption has been considerably lower than predicted, due to many retailers exceeding the minimum fit out standards, and enhanced management practices. On the back of this, we’re rolling out this detailed level of modelling to Hammerson’s other projects to align with best practice.

While we are confident that Elliot’s Field has achieved actual zero regulated carbon, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. For example, we’ve not been able to obtain full data from some of the mains meters on site because the relevant display option has not been set up by the relevant utility company.  On top of that, the PV is not currently fully operational as one retailer encountered issues with their mains electricity metre. We also don’t receive detailed performance data from all of the brands on the park, which makes analysing the success of the scheme more challenging.

No development is ever perfect, but these early results demonstrate the significant efficiencies that can be achieved when you work closely with tenants all the way from the design stage to execution. Overall, the benefit to retailers has been a combined saving in the region of £75,000 over the past 18 months and of course significant carbon emissions savings on top. Even though the likes of the PV array represented a significant investment, Elliott’s Field has still proved to be a commercially viable, profitable scheme and is currently trading with 100% occupancy. This demonstrates that a scheme can be both financially successful and truly sustainable.