The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) launched the Green Star – Performance rating tool in October to assess and improve the energy, water, and resource efficiency and broader environmental sustainability of Australia’s existing buildings.
“While shopping centre landlords and tenants in Australia have been slower to embrace sustainability than other segments of the market, there are a few notable exceptions – and one of those exceptions is CFS Retail Property Trust Group (CFX),” says GBCA’s CEO, Romilly Madew.
“CFX achieved one of the first Green Star ratings for a retail centre – Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne – and we are looking forward to seeing Chatswood Chase achieve one of the nation’s first Green Star – Performance ratings,” Madew adds.
Green Star – Performance will enable CFX to assess Chatswood Chase against best practice benchmarks for sustainable building operations and identify pathways to improve and ‘future proof’ the asset over time.
Rowan Griffin, Head of Sustainability for CFX, said: “As our shopping centres are focal points of their communities, we set high standards in managing them and we have focused on improving the efficiency of our assets for some time now. Sustainability initiatives and rating tools like the Green Star – Performance tool are essential in being able to benchmark our successes and drive areas for further improvement.”
“Improving the operational performance of our centres reduces outgoings, which is better for both our tenants and our investors,” Mr Griffin added.
Deputy director of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, Angus Nardi, says: “Green Star – Performance provides a good platform to drive operational improvements across the diverse retail property sector, whether it’s a small shopping centre in a regional location or a large centre in a metropolitan location such as Chatswood Chase.”
International research has found that retail centres that adopt green building principles – such as prioritising natural light and ventilation, and incorporating materials that are low in harmful chemicals – can improve retail takings.
A study by Heschong Mahone in 2003 found that daylighting could increase sales by up to 40 per cent.
Another 2012 study from the University of Notre Dame in the US found that green-rated bank branches opened 458 more consumer deposit accounts and had US$3 million more in consumer deposit balances per facility per year over non-certified properties. LEED-rated banks also had almost US$1 million more in loan balances per facility per year.
“While 23 retail centres around Australia have achieved Green Star ratings for their base building developments or substantial refurbishments, for the first time, owners of existing shopping centres can put themselves on an equal footing with the owners of new centres,” Madew says.
“A Green Star rating spells lower operating costs and can mean faster attraction of tenants and buyers, increased employee productivity and engagement, and improved asset value – and CFX is one of the first shopping centre owners and managers to seize the market advantage that sustainability can bring.”