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Green retail project named Victorian development of the year

Highpoint Shopping Centre, Melbourne

The $300 million redevelopment of Highpoint shopping centre in Maribyrnong was named Victoria’s development of the year at the 2015 Property Council of Australia/Rider Levett Bucknall Innovation and Excellence Awards held in Melbourne this week.

Owned jointly by GPT Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund and Highpoint Property Group, the redevelopment project included the design and construction of two new malls, a fresh food market and a new four-deck 7000+ berth car park, as well as upgrades to HVAC systems and greening of existing car parking.

GPT set ambitious targets of 40 per cent reduction in energy use compared to the pre-refurbishment baseline, 40 per cent reduction in water use and a diversion of 40 per cent of ongoing operational waste from landfill.

The HVAC design for the centre is now based on 100 per cent fresh air ventilation with no mechanical treatment of inflows. Instead, automated louvres and operable clerestory windows have been incorporated throughout.

Indoor temperature parameters have also been set to reflect seasonal variation, so instead of the standard shopping centre indoor temperature of 22.5 degrees, Highpoint can vary from 18 degrees to up to 24 degrees. This has resulted in substantial energy savings.

The design by Grimshaw Architects working in association with the Buchan Group included a new Eco Mall, which features a non-linear “Eco-Spine” roof with river-like curves constructed of steel framing, FSC-certified timber cladding, laminated veneered lumber, high-performance glazing, operable metal panels, ETFE “pillows” and operable aluminium louvres. The louvres are controlled by a BMS connected to an automated weather station and vary airflow depending on conditions.

Eco-Mall-at-HighpointThe PTFE pillows resist thermal transference while allowing in substantial amounts of natural light to minimise the need for artificial lighting. In combination with the louvre system, the Eco-Spine roof has resulted in a mall that is 53 per cent more energy efficient than the existing areas of the shopping centre.

The new fashion mall and the new fresh food market also use daylighting, with high performance fixed and operable glazing including louvres in the roofing structure. Operable louvres in the clerestory glazing provide the fresh air intakes when weather conditions are suitable and also vent excess heat.

Builder Probuild added further sustainability initiatives, including the use of FSC-certified timber products throughout, natural stone and MDF laminate instead of synthetic polymer for handbasins, and adaptive re-use of boulders removed during civil works in hard landscaping and for a water feature in the new children’s play area. The builder also achieved an 80 per cent reduction in construction waste going to landfill.

More than 70,000 plants have been added to the perimeter of the centre, and substantial amounts of vegetation incorporated into the interiors, including a 6.8 metre-tall Ficus tree. A rainwater harvesting system with 480,000 litre storage capacity was also installed, and stormwater is being harvested for irrigation and for use in the airconditioning system.

A new open deck carpark was constructed that utilises timber cladding and living green screens of native climbers in rainwater-irrigated planter boxes. The pre-existing decks of the northern carpark have also had living green screens and timber added.

The centre owners also developed a green transport plan. This includes promoting car pooling by tenant staff, installing end-of-trip facilities for cyclists and promoting public transport links to centre staff and shoppers.

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