Construction Kicks Off On Victoria’s Renewables-Powered Shopping Centre

Shopping centre - renewable energy

Image: Frasers Property

Construction commenced yesterday on a project aiming to be the world’s most sustainable retail development – Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre in Victoria.

In addition to on-site and off-site renewables, a standout feature of the development will be a 2,000 square metre urban farm planned for the shopping centre’s rooftop.

After a request for expressions of interest in operating the rooftop urban farm, 50 responses were received. Developer Frasers Property says it is still in the process of reviewing the EOIs.

Among various sustainability and energy efficiency measures at the centre will be:

  • mulching excess organic material for compost
  • rainwater capture
  • rain and waste water re-use
  • greenery throughout the centre
  • limiting food and waste transportation
  • glazing to reduce energy demand
  • centralised air-conditioning system
  • extensive use of natural light
  • use of sustainable materials in construction and avoiding worst-in-class ‘Red List’ chemicals

According to Frasers Property, 105% of the energy required for the building will be generated through a mix of on-site rooftop solar panels and off-site renewable energy, utilising battery storage. Tenants will also have the option of sourcing energy from its network, which Frasers says will offer “best-in-market” rates for use of the renewable electricity and thermal energy generated on-site.

“We will demonstrate that developing a net positive sustainable shopping centre – one that gives more than it takes from its environment – is not only commercially viable, but preferable,” said Frasers Property’s Peri Macdonald late last month. ” The aim is to create a more comfortable centre to visit, designed to encourage people to stay, and it follows that with increased dwell times comes greater expenditure,” Mr Macdonald says.

Mr. Macdonald stated there was also scope in the project for educational programs, and with a number of schools in close proximity, it’s something Frasers will explore.

The shopping centre is a part of the larger mixed-use Brickworks community being developed by Frasers Property that has been designed to achieve a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating.

Shopping Centre Solar Uptake In Australia

Commercial solar installations are becoming increasingly common on major shopping centre rooftops and carparks throughout Australia. Among the many projects completed or in development is Vicinity Centres’ initiative announced last month. The company will be investing $28 million in solar power system installations at five of its centres across South Australia and Western Australia.

Another major developer and commercial property manager/owner, Stockland, is spending $23.5 million on a national rollout of solar power across more of its shopping malls, including the installation of a 1.863 MW rooftop system at Stockland Green Hills in New South Wales.

The interest in installing solar PV at shopping centres is as much about slashing energy costs as it is in environmental street-cred. The financial benefits of harvesting the sun’s energy for commercial premises isn’t confined to big players either. Commercial solar for small businesses can pay back in under three years.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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