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Sustainable shopping centre operations using high-tech systems

With innovative technology, creative waste sorting and beehives and solar panels on the roof, Ski Storsenter leads the way in achieving the Olav Thon Group's sustainability goals for the future. An added bonus is that the tenants benefit from lower shared expenses.

Portrettbilde av Gro Collett og Ole Sørlie
Ole Sørlie, operations manager, and Gro Collett, centre manager at Ski Storsenter. PHOTO: Madeleine Gedde Kjällgren

Smart meters and high-tech devices save time, money and the environment

"Doing things in a sustainable way is not only good for the environment, but also saves us both time and money, while making everyday life a little easier," says Ole Sørlie.  

He is the operations manager and 'lighthouse keeper' at the Ski Storsenter shopping centre, and is already in full swing with the tasks of the day at the centre.

Identifying potential problems

"Have a look at this! This sensor system detects sounds and vibrations in the technical rooms and tells us if there is a potential problem before it actually happens," explains Ole with enthusiasm.  

The sound sensing system, first developed at NMBU in Ås, is one of the systems that Ole and the team in Ski were more than willing to try out as part of a pilot project. The sensors have already prevented a few major errors, which the team was able to fix before they became serious.  

There are also a number of other high-tech systems and smart meters around the centre. In fact, Ski Storsenter is the shopping centre with the most high-tech systems in all of Norway.

Saving millions of kilowatts with weather data and controlled water use

To keep water use under control, they have installed the Swedish system Smart Vatten and a few years ao, the new system IWMAV (Properate) was installed, which uses weather data to provide a better overview of water consumption, ventilation and lighting control, among other aspects.  

"Thanks to this system, we saved around 1.8 million kilowatts from 2018-2022 and have saved even more since," says a satisfied Ole.  

This results in a several millions kroner in savings of shared expenses for centre tenants.  

"It's fantastic to see such numbers. It really pays to invest in savings measures," says Ole and adds,  

"I always say that you save ten percent simply by being aware of your consumption. And with the help of these systems, you can easily save much, much more."  

Ole åpner et skap for å vise utstyret for teknisk drift,
Operations manager Ole Sørlie enthusiastically shows the various systems that reduce both energy consumption and costs for centre tenants. PHOTO: Madeleine Gedde Kjällgren

Award-winning role model for the shopping centre industry

With everything from innovative sensor systems and a self-developed waste sorting system to solar roofing, rooftop garden with rainwater catchment and beehives – to name only a few – Ski Storsenter is best in class when it comes to sustainability in the Olav Thon Group (OTG).

For its innovative initiatives, the centre has won such awards as the Norwegian Green Building Council's 'Green Operations Team of the Year' award in 2023 and the NCSC Sustainability Award in 2022.

Operations manager – a lighthouse keeper with guts

All thanks to the same man, if we are to believe Gro Collett, the centre manager of Ski Storsenter.

"Quite a lot of what we have accomplished is thanks to Ole's genuine interest and continuous monitoring of all systems. He also has an incredible network of contacts within the OTG, all of whom have confidence in him and know what he stands for."

 The fact that the centre is filled with innovative technology is not random either:

"Ole is quite the nerd – in the best sense of the word," says Gro and laughs.

"He reads magazines that the rest of us don't even bother to open and is always up to date on all new developments. He also has enough energy to go the extra mile. My contribution is to say, 'go for it!' and trust that he knows what he's doing," says the centre manager.

Excellent team support

To Ole, a good operations team is also important.

"There are five of us on the operations team and without them and Gro's support, none of this would have been possible. There's no point in reading all about new developments and suggesting that we try things out if the rest of the team isn't on the same page," says Ole.

"I must admit that I like to test out all kinds of new technology. But no one has stopped us yet, so I'm very satisfied," says the operations manager with a smile.  

Close collaboration within the OTG 

In addition to excellent collaboration between the operations team and centre manager, it is also important for the 'lighthouse keeper' in Ski to have the support of the rest of the Olav Thon Group.

Sharing experiences with the energy division

"Lots of ideas have started in the head office, which I then put into practice here in the centre," says Ole.

"For example, I brainstorm a lot with Jarle Andersen Aasnes, who is the head of the energy division in the Olav Thon Group. And I in turn share my thoughts and results with others, so that everyone in the group can benefit from them."

Next stop: BREEAM In-Use

But the operations manager has no doubt as to what is most important in a collaboration as far as he is concerned.

"The best part is that I'm allowed to try things out. And that they let me do things my own way."

Next on the to-do list of this energetic crusader is to actively work with BREEAM In-Use, for which the Ski Storsenter is prequalified as 'Excellent'.

Always new and exciting things to test out

"We are also in the final phase of a project with new lighting in the car park that we can control 24/7. I've also seen some waste bins for bathrooms that vacuum pack paper that I'm very interested in trying out," says Ole enthusiastically and adds,

"I'm very satisfied with all we've achieved so far, but there's always something new to learn. It will be exciting to see what more we can achieve in the future."  

A good role model for the rest of the organisation

"Enthusiasts like Ole are essential for ensuring that a large organisation like the Olav Thon Group can continue to progress in the right direction," claim the general manager of Evotek and consultant in the Norwegian Green Building Council Kjell Petter Småge.

'Lighthouse keeper' Ole is pleased to hear it.

"I think it's fantastic if we can set an example and inspire others. We gladly share all our 'secrets'!"

For others who would like to follow in Ski Storsenter's footsteps, Ole has a few tips:

"Be curious and try new things! Don't think about the cost, but the savings. You either save money or you save time," says the Ski Storsenter's biggest enthusiast with a smile.

Ski Storsenter

  • Ski Storsenter opened its doors for the first time in 1995. The centre has over 140 shops and eateries, as well as a cinema, bowling alley, library and health centre. The centre is adjacent to Thon Hotel Ski.
  • The Ski Storsenter operations team won the 'Green Operations Team of the Year' award in 2023 for its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the building. Norwegian Green Building Council presents this award each year. The Ski Storsenter team was one of three finalists, together with the teams at Newsec and Entra.
  • Ski Storsenter won the NCSC Sustainability Award in 2022 for its highly committed centre team, innovative mindset and use of new technology, among other things. The jury also pointed out the centre's focus on staff and social responsibility.

Want to establish your company at the Ski Storsenter? See how at ThonEiendom.no


  1. Portrettbilde av Ole Sørlie Ole Sørlie Head of Operations at Ski Storsenter
  2. Portrettbilde av Gro Collett. Gro Collett Centre Manager at Ski Storsenter