Gold medal for sustainability: MediaWorld in Como receives LEED® certification for sustainable buildings
For years, the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group has relied on systematic energy management in all stores. This also includes structural measures. With its own Sustainable Property Guideline, the company commits itself to high standards for sustainable construction projects and renovations. This building guideline is based on the demanding standard of the international LEED® classification system for the energy and environmentally friendly planning of buildings. Now MediaWorld Como has been awarded the LEED gold standard as the first store of the group!
What is LEED®?
The US system LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed in 1998 on the basis of the British certifications system BREEAM. The scores are divided into six categories:
- Sustainable construction sites
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Materials and resources
- Air quality in the building
- Innovation and design process
The sum of the points achieved determines how the building is classified during certification. There are four levels: certified, silver, gold and platinum.
Roberto Migliorini Mulazzani, Store - und Facility Planner at MediaMarktSaturn in Como, Italy, explains in an interview with Sustainability News how the certification was achieved and why it is also an international milestone for the Group. The 39-year-old has been working for MediaMarktSaturn for 13 years. Read the whole interview here:
MediaWorld Como has just been awarded the LEED® certificate for sustainable building in gold. What distinguishes MediaWorld Como from other stores?
„The store in Lipomo in the Italian province of Como is the first building of the MarktSaturn Retail Group to be designed precisely on the basis of the Group’s requirements and objectives. For example, certain materials and best practices were already taken into account in the planning phase. Every step of the building construction was closely monitored. Other innovations include construction waste management, which enables recycling, and the maintenance and installation of air ducts to ensure optimum indoor air quality,” explains Roberto Migliorini Mulazzani.
All MediaMarkt and Saturn stores focus on energy efficiency. What additional energy saving measures has been taken in this project?
„In all our Italian stores, the energy efficiency of buildings plays a key role. The new stores are equipped with full LED lights, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology (HVAC) are highly efficient. We also use a building management system for the digital control and monitoring of electrical and HVAC systems (e.g. on, off and temperature control). In the Como store, we have implemented an automatic lighting control system with which the light can be adapted to the natural lighting conditions outside the building – this also increases energy efficiency because the electrical lighting is controlled according to the sun’s rays.“
“Right from the start, the construction project headed in the direction of LEED®”, reports Roberto Migliorini Mulazzani. LEED® requirements were already included in the planning phase. All building materials and building projects were analyzed in a team together with an external consultant. The process was then extended to the entire construction phase under permanent evaluation and monitoring. In addition to the high energy efficiency of the building, the use of renewable resources, HVAC and hot water (for sanitary use) with heat pump systems were on the list.
The building material also played a role. All materials used should conform to the company’s concept and design. „We have looked for specific products that meet our requirements, including PVC tiles, PVC adhesives, concrete tiles, plastic panels, paints, interior doors, ceiling panels or air ducts“, says Migliorini Mulazzani.
And what about sustainable transport links to the store?
„The store is located about five kilometers outside the city center and can be reached by car, bus, bicycle or motorbike. As in many of our stores, we also offer charging stations for electric cars. If you travel by public transport, you can take the bus from the city center, the bus stop is five minutes away from the store. Special parking spaces are also available for bicycles and motorcycles.“
Can you see from the outside that the store is different – in other words, more sustainable?
„Yes. Sustainability can also be seen from the outside in many places. On the one hand, the building has a new and modern design. The car park for electric cars can already be seen from the motorway directly in front of it – and a green area that was preserved during the construction of the building. The wide windows show how the lighting system adapts to the external conditions,“ says Roberto Migliorini Mulazzani.
From plan to implementation: if you want a LEED® certificate, you have to start at the early planning stage and consider sustainability aspects from the very beginning. What exactly did the process from planning to certification look like for you?
“We have set up an integrated process during the planning phase to identify opportunities and strategies to maximize the level of certification. Throughout the entire planning phase, all members of the project team were kept up to date and trained in the requirements and scope of LEED® certification. During the construction phase, we constantly checked whether the store was structurally in line with the project requirements. I myself have visited the construction site regularly and checked the correct implementation of the construction practices prescribed by LEED®. We have also implemented a rigorous process to select materials and equipment to verify compliance with LEED® criteria. The entire certification process took about a year from initial planning to completion.“
Did the planned certification have an influence on the construction process?
„Of course. All necessary criteria for the certification were considered from the beginning. For example, during the construction phase, we implemented the following measures: both a construction waste disposal plan to increase the proportion of recycled construction waste and an indoor air quality management plan to promote the well-being of construction workers and building users by minimizing indoor air quality problems.”
After completion of the construction measures: How long did it take to obtain certification?
„Already during the construction process we started to review some changes and adjustments to the original project. The entire building inspection process took about six months.“
The bottom line: what about the results, successes and findings of this project?
„The success is obvious: We have received LEED® gold certification. By going through the entire LEED® certification process, we were able to develop and deepen an understanding of the approach and construction process that we as a group follow as a standard. This will pay off in the future for other MediaMarkt and Saturn stores that want to renovate or rebuild their buildings,” explains Migliorini Mulazzani.
LEED® certification defines a series of standards for environmentally friendly, resource-saving and sustainable construction. The most important environmental effects speak for themselves:
- Reduced drinking water consumption
- Energy conservation
- Use of renewable energy sources
- Construction waste management
- Maximizing the recovery of waste generated by building users
- Selection of materials with low CO2 emissions
- High indoor climate quality
Last but not least, such lighthouse projects are always about communication. How do employees and customers find out about LEED® certification and the sustainability of their store?
„We want to communicate our gold medal to our employees in the next few days – via the intranet and also via TV in the stores. We will also shortly be informing our customers and the wider public via regional PR measures and the social media.“
In your opinion, is the project a success for the environment and the company?
„We are very proud of what we have achieved, especially with our teams and internal resources, in terms of professional development for the employees involved,“ says Roberto Migliorini Mulazzani. „At the corporate level, this result shows how much we are committed to sustainability in our country as a pioneer. We are certain that the future is precisely in this direction.”