K-Mart International

Kmart appointed Vim Sustainability in January 2010 as their sustainability and energy auditing consultants.

Our Goal:

To provide a range of diagnostic and development services to identify the sustainable value of the current fleet and to come up with a range of sustainable design and operational outcomes across their retail stores and warehouses.

To undertake a detailed, investigative process through the use of software analysis, sustainable design principals and EEO auditing to identify Kmart’s energy use and carbon emissions levels from a select range of retail stores.

Our Method:

Our principal analysis methodology was to identify an energy and resource usage benchmark through our sustainable design science skills, diagnostic software works, audits process and a range of different building iterations of the latest Kmart store design.

Local Climate Analysis

We created a software model of one of their typical facilities and took it on a tour through the eight Australian and New Zealand climate zones, identifying the effect on thermal and energy performance in those different zones using their typical ‘Section J’ compliant store design. Once all the energy use levels and internal comfort conditions had been identified we then designed, in conjunction with Kmart, a sustainable version of their typical store – maximising efficiency where we could, but within the same store footprint and visual built form. This improved the energy and resource usage markedly as well as the comfort levels, but the effect in different climate zones using the same built form parameters varied. This then enabled us to understand the impact of increasing/decreasing insulation levels, reducing lighting levels, maximising natural ventilation and daylight, well as understanding the most suitable air conditioning types for each climate zone.

CFD Air Flow Modeling

CFD air flow modeling was undertaken, investigating a range of building design options for maximised air flow and summer cooling while renewable energy options such as wind turbines and PV panels were considered. Earth tube cooling of the office areas of the retail stores and warehouses was investigated as was the use of proprietary natural ventilation options such as WINDCATCHERS®.

Daylight Modeling

Daylight modeling using Ecotect® and then Radiance® software showed the client the value of appropriate window design and the use of SUNPIPES® for their office spaces and stores.

Energy Modeling

Energy modeling around a variable example of store design options including different building fabric and HVAC solutions were experimented with to identify what works best in what climate and under what comfort standard.

Final Design Strategy Recommendation

  • As a final iteration of the process we teamed up with Allan Jack Cottier Architects and with their expertise in design and ours in sustainability and basing the design output on the lessons we had learned from our initial analysis and modeling works, we came up with a unique cutting-edge ESD  store concept. We took this concept on the same tour around the climate zones across Australia and New Zealand using our software. We were then able to identify the value of our design and proposal to the client. From that information we created a business plan for them around paybacks and ROI, finalising a list of recommendations on reducing resource usage in the most cost effective way. In all cases, the energy savings and improvements in comfort were astounding in both iterations –the sustainable ‘retail box’ and the new cutting edge store design.
  • As a final outcome we looked at all the operational issues around their facilities and provide a detailed sustainable design, build and operations plan that would reduce their overall impact on the environment and minimise resource usage. In addition, our investigative energy auditing works provided great value for the client with detailed Returns on Investment and paybacks coupled with unique retail store options for improving efficiencies which resulted in us providing our client a very clear pathway toward a sustainable retail future.