Vladimir Pushmin
CPO and Co-Founder, Arloid Automation

How to Optimise Shopping Mall HVAC for Reduced Carbon Emissions

Optimising the consumer experience is a key concern for shopping and leisure venues. Multiple factors contribute to someone’s experience of a space, but feeling the right temperature and enjoying positive air quality and airflow is undoubtably a central – if subconscious – element. That’s why HVAC performance is fundamental to the success of shopping centres, but also why these buildings produce substantial carbon footprints.

Cooling and ventilating large spaces is costly – both in financial and environmental terms – and many shopping malls struggle with excessive cooling. However, it’s possible to improve the experience of your shoppers but cut back on carbon emissions and utility bills at the same time. Below, we reveal how.

Environmental Impact of Shopping Malls

Across the 51 countries tracked by a commercial real estate agent, it is estimated that shopping malls cover an area of 924.5 million square metres. Clearly, reducing the emissions of these buildings will be critical in the race to Net Zero. In the UK alone, research found that the country’s largest 15 shopping centres accounted for 5.5 million tonnes of CO2.

Shopping centres impact the environment in various ways – background music, waste, and inefficient lighting all contribute to their total footprint. However, one of the most significant sources of emissions can be put down to suboptimal HVAC systems. It’s estimated that energy consumption in venues is around 300 kWh per square metre.

Learn how to optimise your building’s energy usage >

Shopping Mall Consumer Experiences

Shopping malls have always been about the consumer experience, rather than just retail. With the rise of e-commerce, consumers are increasingly looking for these experiences when they choose where to shop, and it is becoming more and more of a challenge to get people onsite. To this end, shopping malls have become as much dining and leisure destinations as they are retail venues. And, considering the fact that 88% of consumers want companies to help them improve their environmental footprints, and the ethical consumer market in the UK alone is £122bn, it’s not too much of a stretch to say green consumers want green experiences.

So, how do shopping malls create positive consumer experiences that compel their visitors to stay longer and come back sooner? Traditionally, this has been done through a combination of approaches: varying tenant composition, the use of ‘mall music’, and making sure HVAC systems are delivering pleasant internal environments. But managing the internal environment manually or through scheduling is inefficient, and large-scale HVAC infrastructure changes are costly and time-consuming. In a highly competitive retail landscape, disruption is not an option. What, then, is the answer?

How to Reduce Carbon Footprint of HVAC Systems in Shopping Malls

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to improve the environment shopping malls provide for their consumers, whilst cutting back on carbon emissions. And it can do so without significant disruption and capital investment.

Capable of delivering up to 30% savings in just 60 days, AI solves many of the problems faced by HVAC systems, including excess cooling and inconsistent visitor inflow. More than that, it is able to break shopping malls into distinct micro zones and HVAC device locations, meaning restaurants, cinemas, shops, open concourses and more can all have their own microclimate. This nuanced control provides the optimal comfort index for that particular space.

Here’s how it’s achieved. Firstly, an intricately detailed building model is created of the mall in question, taking into account a range of highly specific data. Once complete, the model is calibrated. During this phrase, the AI runs thousands of simulations mirroring the different conditions over the course of a year, adjusting responsively each time. By the end of this process, it will be able to work predictively and self-adaptively, responding to new data and conditions in real time – continually learning how to perform better.

  • Step 1: Create the building model. Detailed, precise, highly specific, this is your building’s ‘Digital Twin’.
  • Step 2: Calibrate the AI. Using Deep Reinforcement Learning, AI learns how to respond to conditions and restore the optimum balance of consumer comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Step 3: Implement the AI. Fully trained, the AI begins delivering the optimal settings for your shopping centre, responding to live data.
  • Step 4: See your emissions fall. In just 60 says, the AI is capable of making your HVAC system more energy efficient, dramatically reducing the size of your carbon footprint.

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Optimise Shopping Mall HVAC with AI

At Arloid, we know your future footfall depends on the quality of the internal environment you provide. We also know that the companies who strive to reduce their environmental impact will be favoured by the green consumer. With our advanced AI, you can improve the enjoyment of your shoppers, and cut back on emissions at the same time – all with no initial capital investment or disruption. If you want to get ahead in the race to Net Zero, innovative AI holds the solution.

Get in touch to find out more about our technology!

See more: How to Cut Hotel Energy Costs Using AI

See more: Top 5 Ways to Lower Airport CO2 Emissions

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