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The retail industry in Western Australia is moving towards a greener future with the first retail Green Star being awarded earlier this month. Stage two of “The Shops At Ellenbrook” is the first shopping centre in Western Australia and only the fourth nationally to achieve a Green Star certification by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The centre expansion was awarded a 4 star Green Star for its environmentally sustainable design and construction which focuses on areas such as indoor environmental quality, water, energy, emissions and innovation. The centre was designed by Hames Sharley, constructed by Built Environs and Aria Projects managed the development on behalf of the Insurance Commission of Western Australia. AECOM provided the sustainability engineering.

Hames Sharley Associate Director, Gary Mackintosh says the awarding of the state’s first “green” shopping centre will have a positive impact on the Western Australian retail industry by setting a high benchmark for future shopping centre designs.

“Incorporating a high degree of green initiatives into the design was reflective of the client and the project team’s strong commitment to sustainable development. The project has proved to be a fantastic opportunity to work amongst a talented team of consultants, and with a client (Insurance Commission of Western Australia) that had the drive and foresight to lead the pack in terms of retail sustainability in WA,” says Mr Mackintosh.

“Not only has this outcome set a new benchmark in the industry but it will encourage other retail developers to undertake a sustainable solution to retail design.”

The expansion incorporates a number of aims in terms of planned environmental performance however importance was also placed on conserving resources, reducing waste and improving the indoor environment for building users.

Graham Agar, AECOM’s Associate Director and the Sustainable Buildings Team Leader says his team are delighted to deliver another ‘green star first’ to Western Australia.

“The Insurance Commission of Western Australia achieved Western Australia’s first green star rating with AECOM in 2008 for 167 St George’s Terrace, Perth (Westralia Plaza). The fact they have also delivered the first retail development shows their commitment to leading the market and delivering sustainable - ecologically as well as economically - assets for the people of Western Australia,” says Mr Agar.

High-efficiency lighting and mechanical plants were selected to reduce the energy consumption. By opting to upgrade air-cooled chillers (rather than use cooling towers) additional water was saved. The use of cooling towers to aid evaporation can be responsible for more than half of a building’s water consumption. The centre also contains a large rainwater tank that captures rain off the roof for reuse in toilet flushing and in irrigating trees within the centre car park. The initiatives are expected to save enough water to fill two Olympic swimming pools, as well as saving almost $100,000 and 700 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Advanced recycling facilities and a targeted waste management plan are some of the features implemented to actively minimise waste. A “green room” designed to accept household non-recyclable waste encourages shoppers to reduce their own ecological footprint at home. Involvement from the community has been considered critical for the Insurance Commission of Western Australia since the project began in 2008, with local workshops and information sessions held for local residents. Providing a green solution was critical to keeping the community on the side as well as delivering on the Insurance Commission of Western Australia’s strategy of high quality, sustainable assets.

The project reached completion in March 2011 and included the addition of 19,000 sqm of shopping area, including a new Coles supermarket, a Big W and 60 speciality stores. The centre now comprises over 32,000 square metres of a lettable area including the popular “The Brook Bar & Bistro” and over 90 speciality stores.

Written by Gary Mackintosh, Associate Director at Hames Sharley.

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