In recent years, property developers have been paying more attention to the importance of public open spaces and sustainable design in their building development projects.
Incorporating these features into a development not only benefits the environment but also the local community and neighbourhoods. This philosophy has been at the core of the project for the regeneration of the existing Debono Group site in Żebbuġ since inception stage and will set a new benchmark for sustainable design and privately owned public open spaces in Malta.
The Żebbuġ Project is a mixed-use complex located in the heart of a bustling urban industrial zone. Covering an area of approximately 10,000 sq. metres, the complex will comprise retail units, a convenience food store, offices, medical services and F&B outlets. What sets this development apart is the designation of nearly half of the site’s footprint, 4,500 sq. metres, as landscaped public open spaces.
The public open spaces have been designed with sustainability and the local environment in mind, while simultaneously benefiting the overall health and wellbeing of the local community. The design team worked closely with landscape architects to identify the best aesthetic and functional features to ensure that these areas are accessible and attractive to the widest community spectrum. Endemic plants were identified and will be incorporated into the landscape to provide a thriving habitat for local flora and fauna, and to raise awareness and appreciation of local and indigenous species.
The proposed Żebbuġ Project is pursuing a high standard of sustainable design and performance, including an International Excellent rating in the implementation of the globally recognised BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) standards and low operational carbon emissions. This means that the building will be constructed with the aim of reducing its environmental impact and that it will promote sustainable living. Features such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels and energy efficient lighting have been incorporated into the building’s design to reduce its carbon footprint.
Incorporating BREEAM standards into a building project can have a range of benefits for both people and the environment. BREEAM aims to:
- Mitigate the life cycle impacts of buildings on the environment.
- Enable buildings to be recognised according to their environmental benefits.
- Provide a credible, environmental label for buildings.
- Stimulate demand and create value for sustainable buildings, building products and supply chains.
These aims were comprehensively addressed in the design of the Żebbuġ Project:
- Firstly, buildings that meet BREEAM standards are generally more energy efficient. This means that they require less energy to operate, resulting in lower energy bills for the occupants and less strain on the environment. The Żebbuġ Project will be incorporating energy efficient lighting, thermal comfort and HVAC solutions, resulting in significantly reduced energy consumption.
- Secondly, BREEAM standards often prioritise the use of sustainable materials and practices. This can help to reduce the impact of the building on the environment, as well as promote the use of sustainable materials that are safer for human health. The development will be using sustainably sourced and recycled material, thus having a lower environmental impact than other projects that use non-sustainable materials.
- Thirdly, incorporating BREEAM standards into a building project can improve the health and wellbeing of its occupants. In the Żebbuġ Project, this will be achieved through the use of materials that improve air quality, such as low-VOC paints and carpets, along with the provision of amenities that promote a healthier lifestyle, such as bike storage and shower facilities to facilitate active travel. It is envisaged that the finished development will incorporate biophilic design elements, such as indoor plants or natural light, that will have a positive impact on mental health and productivity.
- Finally, buildings that meet BREEAM standards can help to promote sustainable behaviours. In this regard, the development will have a rainwater harvesting system which encourages occupants to use water more efficiently. The development is also designed in a way to provide easy access to public transport systems, which in turn encourages both occupants and visitors to use alternatives to private vehicles.
Overall, incorporating BREEAM standards into the Żebbuġ Project will have a range of benefits for both people and the environment: from reducing energy bills and promoting sustainable materials, to improving the occupants’ health, creating public open spaces and promoting sustainable behaviours across the community.
Bearing testimony to Debono Group’s commitment to contribute positively and sustainably to Malta’s economic growth, all the while enhancing people’s wellbeing and quality of life, BREEAM standards will ensure that the Żebbuġ Project becomes a landmark development that is sustainable for everyone.