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World’s most sustainable shopping centre under construction

One of the world’s most sustainable shopping centres is being built in Melbourne, powered with renewable energy and with a 2000 square metre rooftop urban farm.

One of the world’s most sustainable retail developments is being built in Melbourne, powered with renewable energy and with a 2000 square metre rooftop urban farm.

Frasers Property Australia is developing the 13,000 square metre shopping centre at Burwood Brickworks with the goal of attaining a Living Building Challenge certification.

It aims to generate more energy than it consumes on an annual basis, retain and recycle all the water it uses and has dedicated 20 per cent of its site footprint for growing food.

A one-megawatt solar array will provide around 40 per cent of the centre’s total energy needs, with surplus supply procured from off-site solar and wind farms to generate 105 per cent of the energy required for the building.

The shopping centre has been designed by NH Architecture, with creative input from Russell & George and Joost Bakker.

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The Hacer Group was appointed as the Principal Contractor to ensure construction can meet the demands required to reach the accreditation.

Frasers Property Australia Executive General Manager – Retail Peri Macdonald said the company has learned many lessons since starting the development and is sharing this with the industry through the supply chain.

“One of the early lessons we learned from the Burwood Brickworks experience is that the current planning framework is not equipped to support or encourage a development like this. We believe there is scope for local and state government planning frameworks to provide incentives for developers to undertake these types of forward-thinking projects,” Macdonald said.

“Even a commitment from planning authorities to assess the permit application within a more reasonable or accelerated timeframe would encourage more progressive and aspirational projects in their jurisdictions.

“Fortunately, we have a number of progressive partners working with us to deliver this world-first project and we’ve attracted a terrific group of like-minded tenants who have used the principles of the Living Building Challenge to further shape and improve their business models.”

Macdonald said the innovations at Burwood Brickworks will translate to greater foot traffic and the longevity of the asset, through a higher conversion of the available retail spend.

Frasers Property Australia Senior Development Manager Jack Davis said the human experience has been a guiding principle for the centre’s creation.

“For the centre to operate as we envisage, delivering a net positive or regenerative ecosystem, we need to foster a unified and collaborative environment encompassing the project team, our tenants and ultimately our shoppers,” Davis said.

“Initiatives like a predominately naturally ventilated mall via operable windows in the sawtooth roof, re-using all water within the building and generating almost half of the energy needs from the rooftop solar, all imply an outgoings saving.

“However, in reality each of these initiatives require human maintenance, so the utility savings are in part offset by the labour component to keep them running efficiently.”

Davis said the company believes that designing a comfortable centre with natural light, fresh air and living greenery will increase the dwell time and frequency of visitation.

Frasers Property Australia aims to open the centre in December, 2019.

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