Hammerson’s first car port photovoltaic (PV) system commenced generating at the end of August 2018 as part of a PV roll out at Victoria Gate Leeds. Installing PV on the mall roof and the car park was the culmination of a successful sustainability strategy for the BREEAM Excellent development.
Since the project’s inception, Hammerson’s sustainability vision had become even more ambitious meaning Victoria Gate’s BREEAM Very Good target was upgraded. So in 2013 and just prior to contractor selection, there was a push to elevate the sustainability credentials of the scheme and the project target was raised to BREEAM Excellent. As part of this the business required tangible value and outcomes from any design variations and additional investment being made.
During detailed design the project team identified options for improving the environmental performance of Victoria Gate cost effectively and in turn the BREEAM rating. A clear, feasible strategy to improve performance was produced with a key focus on reducing the predicted operational carbon emissions from the centre whilst providing energy security and a hedge against rising electricity prices. This was achieved by utilising available roof and car park space to install PV. However, this required the design and installation of a structural frame to accommodate the solar panels on the upper level of the car park.
The appetite to push the sustainability boundaries of the project were reinforced when we began working up our Net Positive objective and Victoria Gate was seen as an opportunity to showcase our commitment to this ambitious target.
The car park PV project required a broad range of stakeholder input to deliver a successful project. With support from the project manager and technical consultant Syzygy Renewables, the project team and contractor Evo Energy had to address a number of project constraints including:
- not losing any car park spaces,
- stringent aesthetic design parameters,
- co-ordination with the existing structure,
- maintaining existing sight lines from various key vantage points.
Working closely with internal and external stakeholders was critical, in particular, John Lewis & Partners and Leeds City Council who were supportive of the proposals.
The PV at Victoria Gate generates approximately 105MWh of clean electricity each year which is about 60% of the mall’s annual electricity demand. This provides a significant saving in both utility bills and carbon emissions.
The project provided an important successful proof of concept for retrofitting car port systems without sacrificing car park spaces. Not only has this led to a review of opportunities on other existing car parks but it has ensured all our new car parks will be built with the capacity to accommodate the future installation of car port structures and PV. With electricity tariffs continuing to increase and PV prices falling, it won’t be too long before there will be a wider uptake in car port installations and Hammerson will have the experience and ability to potentially commence roll out across all of our assets.
PV is now a key element of the initial sustainability brief for any development project. From the project outset this sets a clear message for the project team to achieve positive sustainability outcomes and is an important success factor for all projects. This is just one of the many ways that Hammerson is working to be Net Positive by 2030.