Go green as you shop: suburban centre sets a world standard

Stephen Choi says the centre will help individuals make more sustainable choices in their own lives. Photo: Ellen Tobin-Spall
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The Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre—a world-first in retail eco-sustainability—aims to encourage visitors to rethink the ecological choices in their own lives. Ellen Tobin-Spall reports.

The world’s first fully sustainable shopping centre in Burwood will create a “ripple effect” of eco-consciousness throughout the community, the project’s lead environmental architect says.

Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre has incorporated a range of sustainable practices into its design, such as recycling wastewater on-site, rooftop solar panels, and air quality controls.

The centre has already qualified under The International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge, the world’s strictest testing of sustainability standards in a built environment.

Brickworks’ Living Building Challenge manager, Stephen Choi, said the centre’s impact on the community was just as important as the building itself.

“We want people to go home and think, ‘I can separate my own rubbish better, I can get renewable energy for my own home’,” Mr Choi said.

“For the everyday individual, they may never have thought about that. So that was the intention, for individuals to walk away thinking.”

Go green as you shop: suburban centre sets a world standard
Rubbish bins collecting five kinds of waste at Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre. Photo: Ellen Tobin-Spall.

Mr Choi said the precinct had been specially designed to encourage people to notice their ecological habits.

“If you look at the bins that we have in the mall, we are collecting so many kinds of materials. In other shopping centres, there’s one hole, maybe there’s two. We’ve got five,” he said.

I can see individuals get to the bin and pause. Even if they use the wrong hole, the moment they thought about it, is the impact this building is intended to have.

Botaniculture store owner Belinda Whiting said the centre had helped her sustainable florist and gift store become more environmentally conscious and helped her customers reduce their wastage.

“Our physical store in Brickworks is made completely from sustainable or reused materials. All our flowers here are wrapped exclusively in paper products too. We’re a foam-free store as well, which has a huge effect as the florist industry wastes so much foam,” she said.

“We make sure that what we do use is reusable, recyclable or compostable. Everything we do here has a purpose, and whether the customers notice or not, it really does make a massive difference to the world we live in.”

Go green as you shop: suburban centre sets a world standard
Burwood Brickworks sustainable shopping centre. Photo: sustainablebuildingnawards.com.au

Frasers Property Australia has managed Brickworks since the centre was announced in 2017, and have been responsible for the centre achieving five of the eight approvals required to attain the full Living Building Challenge Certification.

Burwood Brickworks is the first retail centre in the world to achieve this level of certification and aims to achieve the final three approvals—water, energy and equity—when eligible in late 2022.