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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Destiny USA: A Green Megamall?

I had an opportunity today to visit Carousel Mall, in Syracuse, NY, to do some shopping and learn about the ambitious green changes in store for this retail center.
Carousel, already a large and diverse facility, is slated to become part of a megamall called Destiny USA, which may include a hotel, aquarium, water park, and large enclosed park with a "springlike environment," as well as greatly expanded shopping and entertainment facilities. At first glance, the plan sounds like an ecological nightmare, but the project is also ambitious in terms of sustainability goals. According to the official website, new construction at Destiny USA will be LEED Platinum certified, meeting the highest standards of the United States Green Building Council. In addition, the diesel fuel commonly used in construction is being replaced with clean-burning biodiesel. The goals for the center once it's operational sound even more impressive, in particular the developer's commitment to powering the entire complex with an on-site renewable energy power plant.
While it's clear that shopping is hardly the greenest of activities, Destiny USA is sure to be an improvement on current models if it comes to pass. The project is currently stalled due to legal issues, however signs of progress are evident at Carousel mall, where extensive construction has taken place and a switch to renewable power has been in effect since October 2007. This change alone is estimated to conserve as many resources as removing over 2,000 cars from the roads. Overall, Destiny seems like a move in the right direction, and plans to proceed to the next phase of construction are in effect for some time later this year.

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