In February, we announced that Melbourne could soon be home to the world's most sustainable shopping centre. This possibility is now one step closer to a reality as plans for the ground-breaking new shopping centre, and surrounding mixed-use community, have just been approved by council — and construction has, as of today, begun.
A highlight of the shopping centre, which is expected to be completed by late 2019, will be a 2000-square-metre rooftop farm and restaurant designed by eco-warrior Joost Bakker (Greenhouse by Joost, Brothl) together with Frasers Property Australia. The rooftop's massive agricultural hub will sit within the complex's 12,700-square-metres of retail and hospitality space, with the urban farm split between greenhouse, external planter box and landscaped growing areas. Some of the sustainable elements Bakker plans to implement include a closed-loop water system, composting capability, and minimal transportation of food and waste.
Inside the shopping centre, the sustainability continues with a solar-powered Woolworths, soft plastic recycling facilities and natural refrigerants, which aim to reduce the centre's carbon footprint.
The shopping centre and rooftop space will be part of a mixed-used community Burwood Brickworks development — just 15 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD in a former brickworks site. The development will be made up of 2.5 hectares of open space and parklands, community facilities and 700 homes, which are expected to hit the market as early as spring this year.
The design of the wider mixed-use development will also focus on sustainability, using a large solar PV system and an embedded electricity network to target a minimum five-star green rating, with the aim of becoming Australia's first six-star Green Star Design — and to achieve Living Building Challenge accreditation.
This accreditation is seriously hard to obtain and means the building must have a net zero carbon footprint, produce more electricity than it consumes, grow agriculture on 20 percent of the site, and prove net water and waste positive. It must also be constructed using non-toxic and recycled materials, and have other social benefits like access to natural daylight and indoor air quality.
Once completed in October 2019, the Burwood Brickworks development will join the challenge to determine if it meets the criteria to be considered the world's most sustainable shopping centre.
The Burwood Brickworks sustainable shopping centre is expected to be completed by late 2019, with the residential housing following in late 2020.