Macerich's The Oaks is the United States' first BREEAM USA In-Use certified building. The new designation for The Oaks, located in Thousand Oaks, Calif., was highlighted at the annual BREEAM Awards ceremony in London yesterday.

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) rating system has a 25-year track record of driving efficiency improvements in new and existing buildings around the world. The BREEAM USA In-Use standard is designed to address the 5.6 million pre-existing non-residential structures in the U.S. that are not currently able to benchmark sustainability efforts using a scientifically-based green building certification.

"Macerich is a proven industry leader in sustainability, not only when it comes to new buildings, but also in terms of how we update, modernize and operate our well-placed established retail properties in top markets," said Jeff Bedell, Vice President, Sustainability, Macerich. "Measuring existing projects against strong environmental standards, such as BREEAM, confirms our integrated sustainability efforts are delivering results at the highest levels."

In partnership with Macerich, RealFoundations and building auditor Healthy Buildings implemented the BREEAM In-Use standard at The Oaks. Looking ahead, Macerich plans to work with Healthy Buildings to certify other properties in the portfolio.

Macerich chose to pilot the BREEAM In-Use program at The Oaks, the company's 1.3 million square-foot property anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, JC Penney, Muvico Theatres and DICK's Sporting Goods.

The Oaks, originally built in 1978 with renovations in 1993 and 2009, incorporates a wide range of environmental upgrades including: 6,000 solar panels producing 1,652 kW of power; LED Lighting with control protocols to minimize energy consumption and lower carbon footprint without any impact on shopping experience; Upgraded HVAC system minimizes energy usage; more than 500 tons of mixed recycling every year; and integrated thermal controls in the common areas and mall offices regulated to save energy while providing a comfortable work environment.

"With its clear dedication to sustainability in commercial real estate, it makes perfect sense that Macerich would have the first BREEAM USA In-Use certified building in the United States," said BRE America CEO Barry Giles. "We look forward to bringing the BREEAM USA In-Use registration and certification to properties across the country, because any building, no matter the size, age or performance level, benefits greatly from measuring and monitoring its environmental performance."