Focus story: Sustainability goes through Villoresi Est

Villoresi Est is located on the Milan-Lakes highway along a route which, with approximately 30 million vehicles yearly in both directions, is one of the most trafficked in Italy. The project started off with the identification of the target customer, followed by a quantitative and qualitative survey on traffic, 83% of which consists of passenger vehicles.

The development of this filling station represented a milestone in the path towards eco-sustainability for the Autogrill Group: Villoresi is the Group’s international best practice flagship for sustainable innovation, featuring virtuous solutions that can be individually reproduced in other locations of the Group’s network worldwide.

From the perspective of eco-sustainability, the Villoresii Est location was entirely designed and developed in compliance with the energy efficiency and carbon footprint standards of the LEED Protocol (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
The building extends over a surface of approximately 2,500 sqm, with a skeleton entirely in PEFC certified lamellar wood derived from sustainably managed forests. As required by LEED standards, only eco-compatible and recyclable materials were used.
Its characteristic volcano shape (reaching a height of 27.5 m) facilitates the flow of excess heat towards the top and the ideal exploitation of external temperature conditions, thus reducing the energy used for heating or cooling air. Moreover, also thanks to the combined use of geothermal and photovoltaic energy, the Villoresi Est location is expected to save 166 Megawatt of energy on a yearly basis compared to a traditional Autogrill store, with a 45% reduction in energy consumption and 59% reduction of CO2 emission (data refer to reduced consumption and emissions for the heating and air cooling plants).

As to water, rainwater and groundwater are used for cooling air, irrigation of green areas, the management of toilets and the firefighting systems, reducing the uptake of water from the public waterworks for industrial purposes to zero. It is expected that approximately 25e,000 cubic meters of water will be saved on a yearly basis.

Geo-thermal Energy

Geo-thermal energy

Water recycling

Water recycling

In addition to the important innovations brought about by the afore described technologies for ecosustainability, another key characteristic of Villoresi Est is its complete accessibility. In fact, the location was entirely designed and developed according to the Design For All and Dasa Rägister principles, involving an accurate design of the layout, furniture and equipment, as well as services, parking spaces and signs. Interior design was developed starting from the analysis of the multiple specific needs of travelers (businessmen, families, women, truckers, children, the elderly, the differently able, sight-impaired individuals, etc.). This special attention to accessibility throughout the entire location led to the elimination of the gradient between the parking area dedicated to differently able individuals and the store flooring, the creation of paths for sight-impaired people from the parking area to the store, the installation of automatic doors and a help desk located at the entrance in order to provide adequate reception, assistance and management of customer requests. More specifically, inside the store, the height of benches and windows was lowered to facilitate access to differently able individuals and children, a priority-based cash counter facilitates payments, toilets designed to meet the specific requirements of special customers (mothers with infants, differently able individuals, individuals with motor, perceptual and sensorial difficulties, etc.) and, last but not least, a new service model for the Ciao restaurant, with operators involved in the composition of the tray, serving the ultimate goal of facilitating customer mobility.

Design For All and services

Design for all and services

In fact, services were also structured in order to meet different customer needs and to provide them with a two-speed shopping experience at the location:

  • quick use of the store, dedicated to those who want to stop just for a short time and optimize their time;
  • slow and relaxed experience, targeted to those customers who intend to enjoy a mediumlong break and take their time to explore the Villoresi offering.

An ideal separation was then accomplished in the location between the “fast” area with a new concept, Spizzico Bar, bringing about innovation in its layout and in the offering of the Autogrill’s historical brand, and the “slow” area, dedicated to catering services, retail and relaxation for all those who choose to take their time. Here, a re-interpretation of the Bar Motta was introduced, as a trait d’union with the city of Milan and a revisited version of the Ciao restaurant, intended to satisfy the new trends and styles in terms of food and diet. In addition to this, the innovation of “Territori d’Italia” was also introduced, a new concept dedicated to the typical regional specialties.

Other services focus on the different target customers of the point of sale, starting from families with children, for whom two play areas were designed (one inside and one outside the building), dedicated and balanced menus at the Ciao restaurant and a feeding bottle warmer. For business travelers, Villoresi Est offers an “office on the move” service featuring green wi-fi, sockets for recharging PCs and mobile phones and a business center with two conference rooms with projectors, microphones, printers and catering service. Truck drivers stopping at Villoresi Est have access to free parking with over 60 parking places, safe and illuminated paths, dedicated video surveillance that allows them to always keep an eye on their truck, toilets equipped with showers, hair dryers, washing machine and tumble dryer, as well as vending machines for cleaning products. In addition, there is a fitness area with stretching equipment, a picnic area with tables and benches, a Fido Park with green dog run, water, shade and litter area for pets traveling with their owners and, inside the parking area, thanks to the collaboration with Nissan, there is also the first recharging unit for electric-powered cars installed on Italian highways.

Lastly, for the purpose of ensuring continuity with the landscape and underscoring the environmental bond between Villoresi Est and the Groane Park, approximately 30% of the surface of the filling station(19,000 sq m) was developed as a green area, with local trees and bushes that provide continuity with the surrounding landscape.

Villoresi Est

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