Living good lives together in an urban environment

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Living good lives together in an urban environment

Sustainability is an integral part of the corporate philosophy of ECE, the company that manages this shopping center, because high-quality commercial real estate makes a vital contribution to a livable society. Now it goes without saying that everyone has a different idea of what a “good life” is. For many people, however, a number of factors form the basis for a high quality of life. Properties should be places where people can enjoy themselves and interact with one another. A holistic approach to urban development also takes cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency into account, which ECE incorporates into the planning, construction, or modification of various types of commercial real estate in order to promote a livable and sustainable urban coexistence. ECE implements these strategic principles throughout all of its shopping centers.

ECE coordinates its sustainability strategy with an external Sustainability Advisory Board, which it convened in 2011 as the first company in the real estate industry to do so. The idea here is that true progress is only possible when consideration is also given to outside ideas and opinions. As a constant companion that provides constructive criticism, the Advisory Board maintains an ongoing dialogue with ECE’s Management Board and Sustainability Team.

Laying the foundation for sustainable life together – ECE’s areas of activity

For most people, a good life includes social ties to other people, good health, as well as an intact ecosystem for their own lifetime and for future generations. ECE conducted a materiality assessment to find out how it could best support these factors at its shopping centers. The areas of activity derived from the surveys lie in the categories building, stay, and location quality, resources, and employees.

“Sustainable operations are an integral part of ECE’s corporate philosophy. The ultimate goal is to enhance and maintain a high quality of life.”

Bärbel Schomberg, member of the Sustainability Advisory Board and real estate expert

Area of activity: location quality and quality of stay

Around 4.3 million people visit ECE’s shopping centers every year. Whether enjoying the nice atmosphere to shop, dine, or simply go for a stroll, the basic requirements are always the same – fresh air and pleasant light. Even with intelligent, innovative, and economical concepts, a great deal of energy still needs to be consumed. Ventilation and cooling systems as well as artificial lighting are among the systems that consume the most power in shopping centers. In order to minimize the impact on the climate, all German shopping centers are already use completely powered by certified green energy. This saves around 125 tons of CO2 per year.

"Constructing and optimizing buildings based on environmental criteria is key to the sustainable development of the real estate sector. Durability and green building form the basis of a high-quality stay.”

Prof. Dr. Kunibert Lennerts, member of the Sustainability Advisory Board, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Area of activity: resources

„The potential of LEDs for sustainable lighting concepts has not yet been fully tapped. The goal here is to continue pursuing innovative approaches and to test them in real-world situations. LED technology is mature and available for many illumination concepts.“

Andreas Wente, chairman of the Sustainability Advisory Board

In order to use the energy it consumes even more efficiently, ECE continuously tests new lighting and ventilation concepts in its centers. In many centers, the ventilation systems are already controlled automatically depending on the number of visitors in the building. Innovative shopping center concepts receive our Facility Management Award for their work in the field of sustainability.

„Protecting the climate and resources is closely intertwined with every individual’s quality of life – after all, responsible use of resources today will create the conditions for a high quality of life tomorrow."

Arved Fuchs, member of the Sustainability Advisory Board, polar researcher and recipient of the Nature Life Environmental Award

Further information about the interaction area of activity can be found at or right here in the last Sustainability Report.

ECE’s sustainability strategy

The real estate industry plays a major role in climate protection. After all, buildings account for around one third of all CO2 emissions in Germany. ECE is happy to meet the associated challenges and views itself as an integrative part of urban planning that supports cities in achieving their targets for reducing CO2 emissions. Standards that ECE develops for itself are also distributed to the industry in the form of manuals. ECE was awarded the DGNB Basic Certificate for its holistic approach to operation across all shopping centers.

„A few years ago, shopping centers were just places for people to shop, today they are places where people can interact. This is why ECE is looking beyond the boundaries of the centers and promoting vibrant urban development.”

Ole von Beust, member of the Sustainability Advisory Board, former First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Manuals on the operation and construction of sustainable shopping centers

In order to firmly entrench the strategy in its daily operations, ECE integrates activities and expertise into its own guidelines and processes on the one hand, and actively involves stakeholders on the other – and then shares the lessons learned with the general public in the form of manuals. In cooperation with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, ECE produced the first comprehensive sustainability handbook for the development of sustainable shopping centers in 2010. Then, in order to promote the sustainable operation of the shopping centers, the next step was to develop a handbook with checklists and practical recommendations for the local technical managers responsible for the properties.

Manuals on electric mobility and tenant fit-out building materials

ECE is testing innovative mobility concepts in the form of e-charging stations for e-bikes and car sharing connections to the centers. The knowledge gained in this way has been incorporated into the Electric Mobility Manual to provide information on how services such as these can be introduced.

Store operators play a key role in improving energy efficiency and protecting resources in the shopping center. Building materials play a particularly important role in environmentally and climate-friendly buildings. This is why ECE developed the “Tenant Fit-Out Building Materials” manual together with tenant partners. The practical guidelines were developed from the “Sustainability Forum” workshop format, in which technical managers, construction managers, and sustainability officers from the retail sector share their expertise and discuss it in workshops every year.

Further information about ECE’s sustainability activities can be found at: or right here in the last Sustainability Report.