Sustainable shopping centre in Valencia achieves BREEAM Outstanding

Sustainable shopping centre in Valencia achieves BREEAM Outstanding

Centro Comercial Bonaire is an open air mall with the widest range of retail, leisure and restaurants in the Valencia area.


This shopping centre near Valencia is a hub of leisure and retail opportunities. It achieved a BREEAM rating of Outstanding for is commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability, and its community-minded efforts to work closely with local companies and groups.


Centro Comercial Bonaire was constructed in 2000 and partially refurbished in 2016. It is an open air mall with the most complete offer of retail, leisure and restaurants in Valencia’s area.

It consists of three levels (underground car park, ground floor with retail and hypermarket and first floor with Cinema, restaurants and leisure) with more than 150 shops and 11 million visitors per year, that makes this shopping centre a meeting point for the local community. It also provides employment for the local community.

Bonaire is currently fully committed in developing a sustainable activity with initiatives for operational efficiency, partnerships with local organisations to benefit the surrounding community.

The shopping centre was also aligned with the company’s CSR strategy “Better Places 2030”, to minimise the shopping centre’s environmental impacts and to maximise its social benefits to the local community:

  • Better buildings: Improve buildings energy efficiency, operation and sustainable transport.

  • Better communities: Work hand in hand with local entities, NGOs and authorities

  • Better collective power: Enhance Bonaire community to reach future challenges.

BREEAM provided a methodology to develop and structure the sustainabilty strategy.


What stood out during the assessment is how well a retail park in an edge-of-city commercial location, within site of the international airport, has been connected to its nearby community and residential zones and by extension to the city of Valencia as a whole. In the evening, the site remains vibrant, lively and popular, and the buses keep running to and from nearby Aldea and Valencia city centre, while runners and cyclists safely use the dedicated path to and from Aldea.

Also noticeable is how well the design and layout of the centre ensures that vehicle routes and car parks are separated and hidden from the shopping area, allowing shoppers, workers and other visitors to enjoy the healthy external environment in complete safety. The design and layout of the centre ensured that vehicle routes and car parks are separated and hidden from the shopping area, allowing shoppers, workers and other visitors to enjoy the healthy external environment in complete safety.

Finally, the site represents an oasis of sustainable living and biodiversity in this urban area. This is a credit to the work of URW’s strategy, the centre management team and its service providers.


Bonaire scored highly on biodiversity, having spent 6 years implementing its biodiversity plan to support local species on the site. All ecological improvements recommended by the plan have been implemented, including green roofs, trees, shrubs and flowerbeds all around the external mall areas. These are populated with indigenous species to encourage links to surrounding green areas and habitats. Further measures to support populations of local fauna, insects, birds and reptiles include well-placed insect hotels, bird and bat boxes. The standout features are the green walls, filled with plant species to support insects and, as observed during the site assessment, filled with local songbird species, enjoying an ideal habitat. These green walls were well positioned at a height away from people and removed from technical equipment to avoid disturbance.


Items such as Energy, CO emissions, water consumption, transport pollution and waste generated are monitored and targeted (i.e. -25% kWh 2021 > 2030). The main measures are LED use, technical operation of the facilities, BMS, 24/7 energy use monitoring and corrective measures, tenders/contracts, use of efficiency systems and devices, all of them checked by BREEAM methodology, and in addition other aspects like wellbeing, internal organization and control, biodiversity and audits lets Bonaire reach the score of 94,99% in Management.


Bonaire also performed particularly well in the Transport Category, especially considering its relatively remote location on the outskirts of Valencia, scoring full points for cyclist facilities and public transport. The benefits are not only for Bonaire, but also provide shared social benefits to the local area. The shopping centre site is served by regular bus services, which are easily justified economically by the high demand for access to Bonaire. However, these also ensure the residential areas, lying on routes between the shopping centre and Valencia City Centre, have excellent public transport links to both Bonaire and its facilities and Valencia. Furthermore, the cycle parking and facilities, as well as well-defined routes to the centre, encourage users to cycle from residential areas that for most are too far to walk.

As part of its Better Places 2030 strategy, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield set a target of at least 75% of all visits to its shopping centres by sustainable means of transport. Mobility plans were developed for all shopping centres. Bonaire achieved a direct bike path with Aldaia (nearest town), and our next steps are signing a Tesla supercharger node in the car park and execute the measures purposed in our last mobility study (2019).

Health and wellbeing

Finally, as a fine example of future-oriented renovation taking climate change into account, the food courts were converted in 2016 from a glazed atrium that required substantial cooling and mechanical ventilation into a naturally ventilated external space, providing direct access to fresh air for diners, while reducing overheating through solar gain. A canopy provides rain shelter when required and openings in the raised canopy enable natural ventilation and free cooling. The energy and equipment savings and a healthier environment for occupants provided by this renovation were clear.

Unibail-Rodamco-westfield works hard to ensure its assets are welcoming and accessible to all members of the community. Special provisions are made for customers with disabilities, as well as for elderly customers and families.

The in-house 4 stars label based on a 684-point referential ensuring to provide a unique shopping experience through a welcoming atmosphere, quality management and a set of guest services: reception desk, personal shopping assistant or stylist, dining experience, family experience and environmental education points, and interactive corners for children, car sharing and more.

At Bonaire we have significantly reached high standards in customer experience, image, cleanliness, amenities and of course as Bonaire is an open air mall it is guaranteed daylight and pure air, and of course Bonaire’s iconic greenery.


Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s waste management approach is designed to maximise recycling and minimise disposal to landfill. The target is to send zero waste to landfill by 2025.

Tenants are regularly informed and made aware of local on-site waste management policies and processes, which are regularly evaluated and updated. Both supplier purchasing contracts and tenant “green leases” establish the minimum requirements to be met for waste-sorting and recycling. In particular, Bonaire has implemented the figure of the ‘Waste Ambassador”, a worker with presence in the waste management area for helping and informing the users, and disposed a wide variety of waste fractions to separate.

Already 8 different waste streams are recycled at the site, including items highly specific to the retail and restaurant operations, such as clothes, clothes hangers, cooking oil and cardboard & plastic packaging. Current projects target circular approaches to repurpose materials at the centre itself, restaurant food waste and the elimination plastic bags.


Reducing water consumption is an operational target on site and continues to be closely tracked and managed. Based on environmental best practice, the Group is taking active steps to limit water consumption, reduce waste and maintain water quality.

At Bonaire this strategy is implemented in full including low-consumption fittings (taps, WC-flushes, showers and white goods), presence detection to automatically control taps in public bathrooms, automatic irrigation control for green areas and reuse of grey water.


As part of its pioneering commitment to reducing its construction carbon footprint by 35% between 2015 and 2030, the Group focuses on the choice and use of the materials used in its development projects.

A great example of a real improvement resulting from BREEAM is that In 2017 the group developed a policy to ensure that materials are matching the carbon goals that reuse of existing structures and materials is investigated, and that preference is given to materials with low environmental impact and to recycled products.

Bonaire has performed a detailed technical audit to check the status of the building and set action plans for next years. Bonaire has also contracted a consultancy for the preparation of extensive emergency plans (fire, flooding, terrorist action, natural hazards) and yearly is checked by an external in a 2-day Health and Risk audit to assure the status of the building and procedures (fire systems, legionella, security, asbestos…etc.). Finally, Bonaire has specific clauses with providers, to establish all related to product and materials (green specifications) to use in purchases and services.


Although Shopping Centre itself has been determined by a specialist consultant not to be at risk of flooding, some parts of the car park and landscaping are potentially at risk of floodwater run-off from adjacent flood risk zones. For this reason at Bonaire, flood protection measures were advised by experts and have been installed in the form of floodgates at entrance points to protect the site in case of flooding in the local area.


Multiple energy-saving measures have been implemented at Bonaire under Unibail-rodamco-Westfield’s sustainability strategy, but the main one is the BMS installed by Siemens in 2018 to control and monitoring the whole building (air conditioning, lighting, electricity, water, fire systems…etc.). In addition we have the Corporate strategy full LED relighting programme, a roof-integrated photovoltaic plant providing 300.000 kWh/year, the substitution of the ten chillers by new and efficient ones between 2016 and 2020 etc. The roof-integrated solar photovoltaic installation output equates to up to 5% of Bonaire’s total energy consumption. A planned extension to this system will raise the percentage to between 15 and 20%.

Land Use and ecology

One of Bonaire main features is the green landscape, with a lot of greenery and iconic green walls over the south square, providing a vibrant habitat for tens of sparrows, a protected species in the region. The liveliness of this habitat was particularly impressive during the Assessment inspection, highlighted by the attached film taken during the visit. At Bonaire the biodiversity study analysed the flora and fauna and the plan determines the best species of plants in terms of adaptation and water needs.


Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the leading listed real estate company in Europe, has been a pioneer in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. For more than ten years now, CSR (including the BREEAM framework) has been at the very heart of the Group’s strategy. It is a vehicle for progress for the hundreds of millions of visitors its shopping centres welcome every year. It is also a factor of competitiveness for the retailers who have put their trust in the company. Finally, it is important to investors.

“We have reduced energy consumption by 15% (since 2012), mostly as a consequence of BREEAM guidelines. The building is now more friendly for customers and users in terms of wellbeing, transport and landscape. Bonaire is ready to face future challenges with the highest sustainable standards”.
– – Víctor Millán, Technical Manager, SC Bonaire

Benefits to other sites

As of December 31, 2018, the Group had 47 owned and managed Shopping Centres certified under BREEAM “In-Use” in Europe, of which 22 were rated Outstanding”. Certified Shopping Centres account for over 3.3 million m2 consolidated GLA and correspond to 90% of the owned and managed Shopping Centres portfolio (in terms of certified assets’ value).

The early implementation of “green leases” since 2009 made the Group the leader of sustainable operations and showed its engagement with its stakeholders. The same applies to “green clauses” incorporated systematically into the contracts signed with its service providers. These clauses span all relevant aspects of operations, from the use of products with a low environmental impact to the recycling of waste, and a number of practices supporting energy and water savings. Through such clauses, suppliers were also encouraged to behave in an environmentally friendly manner.

“BREEAM has proven an invaluable tool for the URW Spanish portfolio over the last 7 years, providing both a forum and a framework to discuss and share ideas and experiences with a range of initiatives to improve environmental performance of the portfolio"
– – Jose María Gonzalez, Head of Property Management, Maintenance, Purchasing and Sustainability, URW Spain

Bonaire is proof that a 20-year old building can reach the highest sustainability standards following BREEAM guidelines.

A pioneering example in green retail

Thanks to BREEAM assessment Bonaire has become an exemplary reference in ‘green retail’ achieving the highest score in Management part (94,99%) obtained by a shopping centre in Spain.

Bonaire is today a modern building committed to the local community and responsible with the environmental challenge, in addition to a nice place for visitors, a experiential shopping centre for customers and a exceptional workplace for workers.

Bonaire has demonstrated that following the Corporate Strategy and the BREEAM framework a shopping centre can complete the transformation into a entity focused on people and conscientious with the environment.

The technical team at Bonaire embraced the BREEAM-in-Use scheme as an instructive tool to guide their continued improvement of the shopping centre. Even having previously achieved the corporate targets in the previous assessment in 2016, they keenly grasped the chance to achieve further credits, to maximise the assessment score and the environmental quality of the site. The feasibility of every recommendation contained in the BIU referential was exhaustively explored. Only the physically or technically unobtainable credits were denied them. It can be expected though that this is only temporary, and that in the following assessment in 2022, Bonaire will strive to go further still towards optimal sustainability.

Gonzalez continued: “BREEAM enables each centre’s management, including new starters, to learn from previous experiences and to be able to continue to implement strategies and improve performance during certifications and re-certifications. At Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Spain we employ a collaborative approach to the annual assessments to share lessons learned and friendly competition between the technical managers as motivation to achieve the best scores”

Víctor Millán, SC Bonaire Summary


Technical Manager:
Víctor Millán, SC Bonaire
Cost & Engineering Manager:
Javier Rivero, PMPS
Assessor Company:
Matt Batey, Bopro
BREEAM en Uso 2014 (Spain)
BREEAM rating for Asset Performance:
Excellent – (76.13%)
BREEAM rating for Building Management:
Outstanding – (94.99%)

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher