At AMP Capital Shopping Centres, they’re using AI to slash carbon emissions while improving air quality and customer comfort. One of their initiatives is a world first! Head of Asset Technology Real Estate, AMP Capital, Daniel Lepore explains…
There’s a lot of talk in the market about the changing face of retail and the impact that COVID-19 has had in accelerating this change. Alongside our retail partners, we need to look at different ways to engage with shoppers, shift from products to experiences, provide holistic wellness to communities and a seamless customer experience across every channel.
As part of this shift, our shopping community are not just looking to centres as places ‘to do stuff’, they are also looking to us to support the sustainability of the local community through personal and environmental wellness solutions. This is particularly apparent amongst the younger generation of shoppers who want ‘big businesses’ to lead the charge with delivering sustainable environmental outcomes.
In October 2019 we set an ambitious 2030 Real Estate Sustainability Strategy highlighting our commitment to shaping a better future so we can thrive in a changing landscape.
This strategy sets out ways we can support positive outcomes in the broader community creating places where people can live happy, healthy lives in vibrant, inclusive communities.
We see technology as a key differentiator that can positively impact our environmental footprint while also enhancing the customer experience. Our technology and sustainability teams, are partnering with leading digital and proptech firms to use digital transformation to drive both environmental and social outcomes across the real estate assets we manage. In the case of autonomous HVAC control technology, BrainBox AI, we’ve uncovered a leading-edge technology solution that can drive both outcomes.
BrainBox AI regulates building comfort and energy use pre-emptively to reflect changes in outside temperature and occupancy on the building. This energy saving artificial intelligence technology is anticipated to reduce the carbon footprint by 20-40%, decrease energy spend by up to 20% and make buildings a more comfortable place to work or visit. This industry defining technology is a major step forward in making buildings more environmentally friendly as well as creating exceptional customer experiences.
Switch Automation’s smart building platform is being rolled out across many of our managed retail assets to help deliver the healthiest indoor air conditions for tenants and visitors through real-time building performance insights.
We recognise our role in reducing the waste generated by our building users and are using technology to help support our aspiration to increase recycling rates and lower waste generation across the assets we manage. To help reach our goals we need to engage with our retailers and support them with easy to use solutions to help them improve their own waste management.
Across our shopping centre portfolio, we have implemented new smart waste compactors that are fitted with an innovative on-board system to give instant and comprehensive data. This intelligence is presented in an easily digestible report allowing us to work with our retailers on strategies to improve their own recycling and reduce the waste they generate.
To further streamline this experience, we are the first company globally to retrofit frictionless Proxy mobile access points to these waste compactors providing our retailers with secure, touchless access while also removing security cards.
In another Australian first for waste management, we introduced Charopy smart bins at Macquarie Centre. The smart bins allow shoppers to scan the barcode of their beverage bottle or can to see whether it’s eligible for the 10c container rebate with all funds raised being used to help install additional sustainable features at the centre in the future. With the ease of use, our customers responded well and within the first four months, we had collected more than 11,500 bottles and cans prompting us to look at the feasibility of further installations.
The devastating bushfires of summer 19/20 certainly brought air quality to the forefront of our minds. To deliver healthier building outcomes such as improvement in comfort and wellbeing for visitors, we are trialling Indoor Air Quality sensors. The data captured by these sensors will also help inform BrainBox AI to further lower the centres environmental impact.
Of course, these are just some of the examples of where PropTech is helping us towards our sustainability goals. We continue to implement, and trial new initiatives designed to save water, reduce waste and lower our energy consumption while also making our centres places where communities can come together and connect in a healthy way.
For the technology and innovation team, it’s not just about sustainability goals. We are also focusing on how we can create a seamless and enhanced customer experience across every channel, helping customers navigate through our centres safely and with ease.
We want our customers to know that when they shop in an AMP Capital managed centre, they are coming to a place that is doing their bit for the community and environment. We also want our retailers to feel supported with leading edge technology to help their own sustainability journey while improving the experience for their customers at the same time.
This article was first published in SCN Vol. 39 No.1 – Big Guns, 2021. Click here to access the latest magazine issue