2016: Docks Bruxsel receives BREEAM Excellent Certification thanks to its Ecological Design

Thanks to its sustainable design, the Docks Bruxsel shopping centre received a BREEAM Excellent certification in 2016. This label is a worldwide reference and its achievement underlines Equilis’ commitment to ecology. After Docks Bruxsel, other shopping centres designed by the developer have also received this certification.

Docks Bruxsel is located on a former industrial site near the centre of Brussels. By building this shopping centre, Equilis wanted to send a strong signal to this neighbourhood, which is in the process of being redeveloped. The real estate developer has therefore imagined a project that looks to the future and inspires the area.

The emphasis was placed on sustainable design, which earned Docks Bruxsel a BREEAM certification with an ‘Excellent’ rating, one of the highest scores. The Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method is a global benchmark for the design and environmental performance of buildings. It is obtained on a voluntary basis and is based on the evaluation of a dozen criteria related to the building, such as energy, innovation, waste management, transportation and water consumption.

Sustainable construction and energy savings

Respect for the environment has been taken into account from the very first stages of the development of Docks Bruxsel. For example, during the construction of the shopping centre, the nearby canal was used to evacuate the excavated soil by barge, thus avoiding no less than 12,500 trucks.

The site was also designed to make the most of its environment, notably thanks to its proximity to the Brussels Environmental Services incinerator. The excess heat from the incinerator is recovered to heat Docks Bruxsel, which saves 1,600 MWh per year, the equivalent of the heating needs of 1,300 homes.

The shopping centre is equipped with 4,500 m2 of photovoltaic panels to produce green electricity, and its design makes it energy efficient. The glass roof, which is particularly pleasant for visitors, also plays an ecological role. It is equipped with a ventilation system that allows Docks Bruxsel to be ventilated and air-conditioned naturally, and it also serves to provide light. Natural lighting is thus optimized, while the artificial lighting of certain surfaces can be modulated according to the number of people present. The green roof allows rainwater to be collected to supply the sanitary facilities, maintain the infrastructure and water the plants.

Several certified shopping centres

Without detracting from the consumer experience – on the contrary – these features allow Docks Bruxsel to be consistent and even exemplary in relation to current environmental requirements. Obtaining BREEAM certification confirms this approach and encourages other players to follow suit.

At Equilis, this sustainable label is not an isolated case. After Docks Bruxsel in 2016, other projects developed by the company have also received BREEAM certification. This is the case, for example, with Finestrelles (2018), a commercial complex in Barcelona that is among the most sustainable projects in all of Spain. In 2019, Galeria Chełm in Poland also received a BREEAM label thanks to its eco-friendly design. There is so much evidence that it is possible to combine economic activities, entertainment and an eco-friendly approach in the same places.

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