As the temperatures worldwide continue to climb, it certainly feels like climate change will be the cause of the end of the world as we know it. While many individuals are making eco-friendly switches to paper straws and reusable coffee cups, the large and popular Atrium Flora Mall is spearheading green initiatives.

Atrium Flora, located just past the heart of Prague, is a hub for shopping, food and entertainment. Mall representatives are well aware of the popularity of this shopping center and have made simple switches to everyday operations.

Aneta Vnučková, an assistant in real estate for the mall, is proud of the efforts it has taken to better the environment.

“We are convinced that environmental solutions are very important today,” Vnučková said. “We care about the planet a lot and want to help it.”

Many of the initiatives the mall has taken are hardly noticeable during a normal visit.

The mall is equipped with 28 solar panels, according to the mall’s website. In addition, the lights have several energy-saving features such as motion sensors and timers. Lighting in the mall is turned off when the windows provide enough light during the daytime, and LED lights have been installed throughout.

In the spirit of energy-saving, Atrium Flora also has eco-friendly escalators. The escalators run at a much slower pace when patrons are not using them and then speed up when they are in use.

Atrium Flora recognizes that most of the water available on Earth is not suitable for human usage, so mall operators have installed faucet aerators to all sinks in the building. This technology allows for air to supplement the water flow, reducing the use of water without people noticing.

In addition to saving water, the mall is also an avid recycler. Atrium Flora recycled 300 tons in 2013, according to the mall’s website. That is 300 tons of rubbish that has been turned into new products instead of flooding Czech landfills.

The mall is able to implement recycling efforts by placing recycling containers beside trash cans with signs to signify which is which. This is an example of how Atrium Flora is making it easy for its guests to help improve the environment.

Many eco-friendly initiatives involve caring for and ‘saving’ bees. The tiny creatures are responsible for pollinating nearby areas and assisting the growth of fruits and vegetables, as well as producing honey. Atrium Flora has six beehives on the roof of the mall to help pollinate the nearby area of Prague.

Urban beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular across nations, and beehives can be found atop buildings like Notre Dame and skyscrapers in New York City. The Smithsonian has said that bees on the roofs of buildings can boost a building’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) score, thus adding a professional incentive to this ecologically-friendly move.

Anna, a mall-goer from Calgary, spoke about how she enjoyed the green features in the mall.

“I’m just visiting Prague for a short time, but I really enjoy the bees,” Anna said. “They’re really cute and so good for the environment. I hope that my mall back home can do something like this.”

Palladium Mall, also located in Prague, is a popular shopping destination and slight competition for Atrium Flora Mall. Palladium is the largest shopping centre in Prague, yet it has not made the same eco-friendly switches that Atrium Flora has practiced. While an attempt to receive feedback on this matter was made, both parties failed to respond.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that Earth’s average temperatures will continue to rise between 2.5 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to data from NASA. As temperatures continue to rise with water levels and pollution, it is a reminder of the impact individuals and businesses can make to help care for our planet.

Atrium Flora Mall is slyly nudging to everyone in and visiting Prague that there is only one earth suitable for human life. A building of its size would typically be seen as a cause for a heavy amount of environmental damage in our already fragile planet. However, Atrium Flora has found a way to turn simple switches into a worthwhile impact. Perhaps in the future other large buildings and shopping destinations can follow suit and fill the rooftops of Prague with buzzing bees to match the buzzing city life.

Written by Sarah Ali

Featured image by Sarah Ali

Edited by Ciera Noe

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