Our stories | 13 October 2020

Greening the industrial landscape

Greening the industrial landscape

Located, as they often are, at the outer fringe of cities and encircled by the highways and transport links on which they rely, industrial parks are the lifeblood of local economies—manufacturing and moving the goods we consume or export. Out-of-sight, they’re generally out-of-mind too; but at Frasers Property Industrial, these precincts are quietly undergoing a green revolution.

To the extent the average person thinks about industrial parks—and let’s be frank, they almost never do—the impression is probably of places that are noisy, cold, dirty and inhospitable. Andrew Thai, Sustainability Manager for Frasers Property Industrial, concedes that’s generally a fair assessment, given that most industrial precincts are stacked with manufacturing hubs and squat warehouses, heavy machinery working day and night, acres of concrete, and lots and lots of trucks.  

But peek inside a Frasers Property Industrial facility and you might be surprised to find a quiet revolution going on; one that places just as much importance on the health of the environment and the wellbeing of the people that work there, as it does the means of production and the movement of goods. “There are a lot of reasons to prioritise sustainability in the creation of industrial precincts and facilities,” says Andrew. “Chief among them is that greener buildings are cheaper to run, safer to work in, and more resilient in the long run.”  

So, what makes a greener industrial building? In many ways, the same principles apply as they do for 5 and 6 Star Green Star homes, says Andrew. “The first thing is to reduce energy use. That means energy efficient lighting—including the use of natural light where that’s practical; automated controls that turn lights off and on depending on the amount of daylight and; solar panels to reduce the amount of energy you need to buy from the grid. All these factors help reduce the cost of running the building.”  

In recent years, thanks to drought and soaring temperatures, water has also been a major focus. “A typical warehouse is approximately the size of 40 basketball courts. The large roof to cover this area gives us a fantastic opportunity to capture rainwater in our tanks and re-use it to irrigate trees and native landscaping in the area, as well as flushing of toilets. This helps conserve our valuable water resource.” says Andrew. “We also focus on the internal space by choosing to use low-toxic materials in the construction of the building itself. Things like paints, adhesives, sealants, joinery, carpet and so on. We believe the health and wellbeing of the people that work in these facilities needs to be prioritised as well.” 

The quality of the environment industrial workers occupy is a big theme for Andrew’s work. “Ultimately a warehouse isn’t just for the storage of goods, people work in these spaces too,” he explains. “And they actually deserve a nice place to work, just like anyone else. Now, of course it’s true that many industrial buildings and industrial parks are noisy places where manufacturing and logistics occur. But as we transition to an economy that focuses on high tech logistics and robotics and automation, the workforce is also likely going to get more skilled. And to attract and retain that talent, you need to be able to offer a better place to work, much like any other company would do. So, we’re very conscious of that.” 

So much so, that Frasers Property Industrial—a global leader in developing and managing logistics and industrial properties across Australia, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands—has been introducing a range of talked-about new initiatives in several of its parks around the world. 

In Germany’s Hessen district for example, Frasers Park Egelsbach is a haven for biodiversity. There’s a 5,000m2 habitat for local lizards, a renatured watercourse to attract aquatic plant life and birds, a meadow for native flowers and wild herbs. There are also electric vehicle charging stations planned and a new cycle path to minimise reliance on cars.   

Closer to home, Frasers Property Industrial are focused on a new-breed of community-centred design of industrial precincts they hope will become the benchmark for logistics facilities of the future. “Industrial parks will always have big buildings, but that’s not all they have to be,” says Andrew.  

“If you think holistically about the space, you can introduce elements that create a more pleasant and friendly environment. Parks and gardens with fitness stations and running tracks give workers a place to get outside and work-out before their shift starts, or have lunch with friends during the day, instead of being confined to some dismal, poorly-lit little lunchroom inside. Traditionally that sort of thinking hasn’t been introduced into industrial spaces, but it’s where we see the future going—it’s no longer just a place for logistics; it’s a community where people can thrive and our customers cement their place for the future.”  

Greening the industrial landscape

In Australia, Frasers Property Industrial customers include Amazon, Arlec, CEVA Logistics, DHL, Hino, Mazda, Nissan, and Toll among many others.  

Horsley Drive Business Park in Wetherill Park is Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star industrial estate. 

Frasers Property Industrial’s business includes assets in  
Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Austria.  

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