The World’s Most Sustainable Shopping Mall

NBT Updates

The annual BREEAM Awards winners were announced as part of EcoBuild earlier this month, with over 50 of the highest rated BREEAM buildings being shortlisted for an award. There were some great winners, but one which stood out for us was Fornebu S, a shopping centre located just outside Oslo in Norway.


Fornebu S is unique as it is the first shopping mall to receive a BREEAM outstanding certification. Winning in the Retail New Construction category, the shopping centre contains over 80 retail units over a total area of 65,000 m². The building sits on a larger site which will eventually contain a bank, medical centre and living accommodation. This aims to further reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on transportation between services. An incredible amount of thought and attention to detail has gone into the construction of Fornebu S, for example the green roof which aims to promote biodiversity and a bike park to make it easier for people to travel to the mall on bicycles. What’s more, 100% of all construction waste has been recycled or used for energy.


Aiming High

BREEAM was used a framework and the “outstanding” certification as a target when constructing Fornebu S. With the aim of creating the most sustainable shopping mall they could, the project team combined many different sustainability features throughout the whole project. This resulted in the building achieving impressive ratings in all BREEAM categories.

Some important features and statistics taken from the BREEAM website

  • An airtight and well insulated building envelope of which only 7 % is windows/doors
  • Effective heat recovery from the technical systems
  • District heating and cooling using seawater for heat exchange
  • Zoning and sensors to optimize ventilation
  • LED lights in both shops and common areas
  • 1043 m2 solar cells producing 140 000 kWh/year
  • Energy efficient and water preserving sanitary equipment
  • Comprehensive metering and an energy monitoring system to help optimise energy and water use.

The calculated amount of energy consumed within the building registers at an impressive 60% less than the regulatory amount and the materials used are low in carbon, creating a non-hazardous environment and maintaining a good climate.



The features and construction techniques of Fornebu S are displayed and used as a learning facility for the local community. People are able to use the centre to find out more about environmental issues, why energy reduction in buildings in important, and how that has been achieved.

The facility contains a display at the centre, showing how much solar power has been generated in the previous 24 hours, putting it in perspective with household appliances to give visitors a better sense of the importance of renewable energy. There are physical and digital tours available to the public, providing information on “the world’s most sustainable shopping mall” as well as “Environmental Stations” which display information about the building’s environmental features.

Education is a crucial factor in the future successes of sustainable building, and Fornebu S has set an example of we can progress and look to the long term.


All images taken from the Fornebu S Facebook page.