Grand Plaza Shopping Centre, Browns Plains, Queensland

23 September 2010 – At last the country has its first NABERS Energy and Water rating for a shopping centre. After years in development for the tool, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, has submitted its Grand Plaza Shopping Centre in Browns Plains, Queensland and achieved a 3 star ratings.

Head of sustainability property for Colonial First State Rowan Griffin said it was a valuable exercise, and the result not quite as high as the team had expected hoped for.

“It’s been surprising- you think you are doing quite well but when you put in an external benchmark you find some interesting results [where you can improve],” Mr Griffin said.

“We’re going down the NABERS rating path on all our assets.”

Most of the potential improvements discovered through the exercise tended to be in the controls of the building management systems.

“That’s the whole benefit in my view of doing external ratings,” Mr Griffin said.

“With the introduction of the NABERS Shopping Centre tool, we can now compare our assets’ operational performance and establish where they fit within the industry. It’s been a critical step forward in streamlining the benchmarking process.

“This more accurate and independent ‘apples to apples’ comparison of The Grand Plaza’s
performance gives us significantly more information with much less effort.”

He said CFSGAM was involved in the development of the rating tool with NABERS – which was a difficult and lengthy process.

“What was so hard about the tool was that shopping centres are so different to office buildings. You can’t rate the tenancies so you are basically just rating the malls and the car parks and so on.”

Matthew Clark Manager for the Built Environment in the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water, which manages the NABERS program nationally said the rating for Grand Plaza proved how easy it was to get a rating for a retail property.
 
“Basically once you’ve collected the 12 months of data, such as utility invoices and lease
information, it is a quick and easy process to engage an assessor and complete the rating,” Mr Clark said.
 
“Obtaining a baseline NABERS rating is the first step in any plan to improve the environmental  performance of buildings. It lays the foundation to target progress towards higher ratings and can help steer the direction of an entire portfolio.”

Assessor for the property was Exergy Australia Pty Ltd, which won the work through a tender process.

Profile of Grand Plaza

 Grand Plaza at the corner of Mt Lindesay Highway and Browns Plains Road, at Browns Plains in Queensland has 52,967 square metre sof gross lettable area, in a single level sub-regional format built in 1994, one of 34 shopping centres managed by CFSGAM across Australia.

Grand Plaza  is anchored by Woolworths and Coles supermarkets and houses approximately 165 specialty retailers, includingTarget, Big W, Kmart, Woolworths, Coles, Birch Carroll & Coyle (Cinemas) and Aldi.
Key environmental features include:

  • Installation of Variable Speed Drives on selected pumps and fans throughout for reduced energy consumption.
  • Installation of EFFTRACK chiller plant efficiency monitoring equipment to target reduced energy consumption.
  • Installation of a highly efficient chiller for reduced energy consumption.
  • Installation of base building electricity meter monitoring equipment.
  • Installation of a building management system.

Water

  • Implementation of Air-Conditioning condensate water harvesting for reduced water consumption.
  • Installation of water tanks to harvest water for reuse in amenities.
  • Installation of water sub-metering for high consumption areas.
  • Installation of base building water meter monitoring equipment.
  • Harvesting fire test water for re-use in irrigation of gardens.

 According to the company the NABERS rating proved its asset was performing above the industry standard of 2.5 Stars for energy and water.
 
 CFS also engaged the assessor, Exergy Pty Ltd,  to undertake a NABERS Improvement Plan after the assessment was completed and the plan was then incorporated into the company’s retail sustainability implementation plan at Grand Plaza.
 
 Key to the plan will be to “ensure that we maintain correct focus on achieving set sustainability outcomes from improved operational management at no cost through to full capital replacement targeting maximised efficiency to complement our NABERS strategy,” a spokesman for the company said.

The use of the NABERS tool and its subsequent outcomes “confirms our willingness to remain transparent to our retailers and stakeholders.”

Key sustainability issues in a shopping centre are heating, ventilation and airconditoning, or HVAC, followed by lighting, lifts and escalators.
 
 “The onsite process was conducted over a two day period however this incorporated other operational performance review functions in addition to the NABERS audit. The NABERS audit itself was a one day affair mainly due to the streamlining of our systems to capture and manage all utility data and leases on electronic web based platforms.”
 
Although NABERS tool has the capacity to improve overall environmental performance for the company the spokesman said there was not any “demand or push” from tenants for greater sustainability. The existence of the tool, however, “positively positions CFSGAM for any future conversations with interested stakeholders.”