2.7 - Renewable Malls: Transforming Shopping Centres Into Flexible, Decarbonized Urban Energy Assets
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Urban systems de-carbonization is achievable if supported by measures for energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy sources (RES). In this context, a key role can be played by shopping malls. They are usually identified as “icons of consumer society,” but they also have a huge energy retrofitting potential. Moreover, they can have an active role in the future smart grid, connecting buildings and energy infrastructures. Photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage systems (ESS) play a fundamental role in exploiting such potential, and can very quickly become a cost effective solution contributing to emissions reduction, as demonstrated in the presented case study. Considering the short economic perspective of investors, the capital expenditure associated with retrofitting could be a barrier, and the evaluation of suitable economic indicator of primary importance to choose among several retrofitting strategies. Despite the fact that overall legislative frameworks and regulations do not promote shopping centers as key energy and social infrastructures to achieve ambitious targets in the ongoing urban transformation, energy-efficient shopping malls massively using RES and ESS can actually become the backbone of the city of tomorrow.