Grosvenor launches retail air quality measurement first, performing 60% better than benchmarks

One of first real estate firms globally to actively monitor air quality impact in retail environments

  • Aim to understand local air conditions and maximise energy saving
  • Part of a wider campaign to maximise health, wellbeing and sustainability of real estate portfolio and positively impact local communities


Grosvenor Europe (Grosvenor), part of Grosvenor Group Limited, the privately-owned international property group, has launched a first of its kind air quality monitoring scheme in its Swedish retail portfolio. The programme will help the business better understand local air conditions impacting tenants, visitors and employees, identify energy savings and achieve a more positive, direct impact on the environment and the wellbeing of the people that use its assets.

We are one of the first real estate firms in the world to monitor the air quality of our own retail assets. The programme, launched in July 2019, monitors the indoor and outdoor air quality of two shopping centre assets in Stockholm, in order to help us maximise the health and wellbeing of both asset occupiers and visitors, and reduce energy consumption.

The scheme at Skärholmen Centrum in the south of the capital and Väsby Centrum in the north, is run by leading sustainability design consultancy ZED. Results so far have identified very good air quality across both centres[1]:

  • Outdoor air pollutant levels were 57% below World Health Organisation prescribed limits.[2]
  • Indoor air pollutant levels were 60-40% below best practice guidelines[3] and healthier than outdoor air levels.  
  • Energy savings already identified; sufficient to power 235 dwellings per year.[4]

The most common air contaminants including carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) are being monitored as part of this programme, as well as the temperature and humidity of both centres. Analysis includes the effectiveness of ventilation systems in cleaning the outdoor air entering the centres, as well as an examination of indoor air pollutants, including the potential impact of tenant units on overall air quality.  

Maintaining positive indoor conditions can improve short and long term respiratory and cardiovascular health issues while an effective ventilation system can maintain low CO2 levels, sustaining energy levels and enhancing the visitor experience in the shopping space.

Rebecca Dwyer, Strategic Projects, Grosvenor Europe, said: “Buildings are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, so it is essential we understand how we can positively improve the air quality experienced by people using our assets, as well as maximising energy savings.

“We believe our buildings have the potential to improve the future health and wellbeing of end users and as a responsible real estate investor and developer it is important we do what we can to understand how, and minimise any negative impact on the environment and the wellbeing of building users. 

“We are encouraged by the initial results of this project and hope this programme will encourage the wider real estate sector to establish new industry norms.” 

Will Procter Director, ZED, said: “Our partnership with Grosvenor on such a forward-thinking scheme has enabled us to learn more about their pioneering approach to the wider sustainable property management and investment business. The sensor-based approach allows real-time data to be captured, analysed and used to make appropriate positive interventions. Grosvenor is truly demonstrating a sector leading commitment to community, wellbeing and the environment.”

This air quality programme forms part of Grosvenor’s wider sustainability strategy, which includes:

  • Indoor air quality monitoring of our European offices (London, Liverpool, Madrid, Paris and Stockholm) to ensure employee wellbeing.
  • Mobile air quality monitoring project with Paris-based start-up Plume Labs, which will enable employees to analyse personal exposure to air pollution in our core cities, including within our development projects.
  • The development of ambitious sustainability targets including:
    • Becoming a founding signatory to the Better Buildings Partnership’s Climate Change Commitment, announced on 20 September 2019.

Sara Lucas, Chief Executive, Grosvenor Europe, comments: “We take a long-term view of our responsibilities and activities, with sustainability and social governance considerations important factors in all our investment, asset management and development decisions.

“We have begun an ambitious programme of investment and innovation across our portfolio, not only to improve air quality but also to achieve broader environmental goals including committing to the Better Buildings Partnership Climate Change Commitment, which highlights the need for all buildings to be net carbon zero by 2050. This approach is driven by a desire to deliver lasting commercial and social benefit to the communities in which we operate.”


[1] Full results outlined in Notes to Editors

[2] WHO guidelines for PM2.5 (15ug/m3)

[3] RESET air levels for CO2 and TVOCs (1000ppm and 500ppb)

[4] Based on 2000kWh/dwelling annual electricity use


About Grosvenor Europe

Grosvenor Europe invests in, develops and manages real estate assets in vibrant European cities including Paris, Stockholm and Madrid. As a part of Grosvenor Group, with a track record of over 340 years, our activities are designed to improve properties and places that will deliver lasting commercial and social benefit in the places we are active.

Our approach to delivering social benefit identifies five priority areas where we believe we can have the most measurable impact on social and environmental sustainability and in 2020 we launched our net zero carbon strategy, committing us to halving our total carbon impact by 2030. This target was approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative and verified in line with the most ambitious trajectory of the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming by 1.5oC.

As at 31 December 2020, we managed £1.7bn AUM, including a several residential development projects, a growing office portfolio in Madrid and Paris, and retail-led assets in Stockholm.

Follow us on:
Twitter: @GrosvenorEurope
Linkedin: Grosvenor Group
Instagram: @grosvenor_europe

Notes to Editors

About the programme:

A series of sensors were installed in both Skärholmen Centrum and Väsby Centrum shopping centres to measure outdoor air conditions in line with global guidelines (World Health Organisation, EU commission, US Environmental Protection Agency) and indoor air conditions in line with WELL and RESET certification standards.

Sensors were installed in various locations around each centre, to interpret potential localised pollution based on the transient nature of spaces, levels of retail activity, or where spaces may be used for social or dining purposes. For example:

  • Spaces that sell certain types of products and homewares can find increased VOC levels from product off-gassing.
  • Transient spaces can be affected by both particulates and VOC’s from commercial cleaning activities.
  • Social and eating zones can experience increased CO2 due to high occupancy levels during lunch and evening meal times.

We assessed ventilation performance, building maintenance schedules, footfall and chemical product use to identify when potential increases could occur. Initial results exceeded official benchmarks.

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