The $200 million Wollongong Central expansion has been recognised as one of Australia’s most sustainable retail developments after being awarded the country’s first 5 Star Green Star ‘As-Built’ rating for a shopping centre.
The rating represents ‘Australian excellence’ in sustainable construction, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
The GBCA assessed a range of factors in awarding the rating, which included the management of the centre, indoor air quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovation.
One key element in the Wollongong Central development that was recognised was its innovative passive design which reduced energy use.
Examples of this include the use of a large skylight to reduce the need for artificial lighting and the large food court façade awning which can be opened or closed automatically according to the weather conditions.
GPT Group Development Manager Mohan Rengaswamy said sustainable design was a cultural pillar of the organisation which has already reduced the carbon emissions intensity of its operations by more than 50 per cent on 2005 levels.
“We have challenged what is viable by reviewing attitudes and behaviours towards how places are used and also how we should operate our business.”
“The ‘As Built’ rating is a significant achievement as it will relate to the life of the Wollongong Central development, compared to many other retail design achieved Green Star ratings that will expire after two years,” Mr Rengaswamy said.
The sustainability and engineering consultancy Cundall provided the ‘comfort modelling’ behind the design of the Wollongong Central expansion to ensure ample comfort was provided for visitors by using as little energy as possible. This included undertaking computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling on optimising the airflow through the centre.
“Achieving this 5 Star Green Star rating confirms the commitment of everyone to achieve a retail development that not only reduces its impact on the environment, but also creates an environment shoppers enjoy,” said Cundall associate David Collins.
“We hope that other retail developments will look at this development and apply the design principles to their malls.”
Other factors that contributed to the 5 Star Green Star rating were the positive social impact the Wollongong Central expansion had on the surrounding community by providing healthy environments and performance spaces for local artists.