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Green technology cuts energy bills at Southside

Solar panel technology and an improved lighting management system have helped a south London shopping centre save thousands of pounds since being introduced.

Wandsworth's Southside – which is owned by Metro Shopping Fund, the joint venture between Land Securities and Delancey – has installed more than 200 solar panels on its roof at a cost £68,450, and the centre said this week that it has already cut energy bills by more than £2,000. The investment is expected to pay for itself by 2019, producing 32,869kWh of energy a year.

New lighting has also been put in place that is reportedly saving the site 35% in electricity costs, effectively paying for itself over a six-month period. Other initiatives, including a waste recycling programme, have contributed to the shopping centre's improved environmental footprint in the last few years, too.

Findings released by Nielsen this week indicated that issues surrounding sustainability are having an increasingly influential impact at the cash register.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behaviour report, which surveyed more than 29,000 people in 58 countries, said that one in four UK consumers are choosing more environmentally-friendly products despite their higher price. Last year, a similar Nielsen survey found that only 8% of consumers said they would buy the eco-friendly option if it was more expensive.

Neil Churchill, general manager of Wandsworth's Southside, commented: "Conservation of energy has always been something I have felt strongly about and it has long been our aim to ensure that Southside shopping centre operates in the most sustainable way possible.

"Like many older shopping centres, Southside was built before sustainability was at the top of the agenda - something I have sought to remedy. We hope Southside can set an example to other centres looking to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact."