In 12 years from now, if we are to meet our international climate change obligations, new buildings in Australia will need to emit zero carbon.
If we’re going to meet this ambitious target, we need to increase the pace of change. This calls for a shared approach – shared lessons, experiences, knowledge, insights and more.
At Burwood Brickworks shopping centre in Melbourne, Frasers Property Australia is aiming to create the most sustainable retail development in the world.
More importantly, what the team has learned to date – and there are many lessons to come – will be laid out for all to see.
Frasers Property has committed to sharing the experiences and knowledge, the successes and even the mistakes, as it creates a ‘Living Building’, one that will ideally achieve the highest global standard of sustainability, Living Building Challenge certification.
One idea is to facilitate an accessible platform that opens up the commercial information on the development and construction of Burwood Brickworks to the industry.
It means the project becomes bigger than itself. It can represent a new line in the sand for the property industry, demonstrating that a building can have a net positive environmental and social impact on its site - and be profitable as well.
The world's most sustainable retail centre's triple bottom line
The project was put under the spotlight earlier this year at the Shared Value Summit Asia Pacific as a shared value initiative. Development Manager Jack Davis spoke about the need to impact the triple bottom line in order to declare the project a success.
That is, it must generate a quantifiable financial benefit, as well as measurable impacts on the community and the environment. It will do this in several ways: drawing a wider catchment of people; increasing the time they spend in the centre, leading to greater expenditure; as well as through a rooftop urban farm that will accrete its own financial return.
Allocating over 2000sqm of rooftop space for the growth and sale of fresh produce within an urban farm, at face value, doesn’t wash commercially.
But when you consider supplementary revenue from educational and tourism tours, the private hire of a unique function space, and the uplift of co-locating a restaurant at its doorstep, the space becomes activated at all hours of the day and drives a profitable return in its own right.
Uncharted planning territory
To integrate a community asset like this has its challenges. What zoning to apply – retail, agricultural? Whitehorse City Council and Frasers Property had to navigate some unchartered waters just getting to the point where construction could begin.
The masterplan for the wider Burwood Brickworks community, which will comprise some 700 homes around a Woolworths-anchored shopping centre, was approved in June.
The first sod was recently turned and the focus now turns to delivery. There will be many eyes, in Australia and globally, keeping a close watch.
Earlier this year, Melbourne City Council asked the team behind Burwood Brickworks how it could incentivise companies to do more of this type of development.
The incentive is the bottom line. Create projects that stack up financially and you will get investment from the private sector. And the 2030 target may yet be within reach.
Collaborators: Whitehorse City Council | Living Futures Institute | Shared Value Summit | First published in Government News