The first Green Star rating for an Australian supermarket has been awarded to Coles at Hallam, in Melbourne’s outer south-east, opening the way for a much needed greater sustainability in this sector of retail property that typically consumes huge amounts of energy for refrigeration.

The new outlet in Melbourne’s outer suburbs  achieved 4-Star Green Star with a range of initiatives including the first Life Cycle Assessment undertaken on an Australian supermarket, the Green Building Council of Australia said.

The company had been working with the GBCA since 2009 to develop a rating tool applicable to supermarkets and to develop a model store featuring sustainable strategies and technologies that can be integrated into future construction and refurbishment projects.

Initiatives include energy-efficient LED lighting installed throughout, a high-efficiency heating, ventilation and airconditioning system that will deliver 50 per cent better than building code minimum for fresh air, high-efficiency chillers and heat reclamation from the refrigeration units to supply heating to other parts of the store.

The store is also expected to use 70 per cent less water than a traditional store thanks to water-efficiency measures including rainwater harvesting and reuse with 150,000 litre tanks for water storage and water-efficient fixtures and fittings.

The Lifecycle Assessment was used to compare materials and products and decide on sustainable and efficient options.

Coles Property general manager Sam Pinchbeck said using the Green Star rating tool to guide the design and construction of the Hallam project now gives the company an opportunity to measure and manage “continual improvement in the sustainable design of our supermarkets in the future.”

“Coles is committed to sustainability because we know it’s good for our customers, good for business and the right thing to do for the environment. Gaining this Green Star rating is one significant way we are achieving our sustainability goals,” Mr Pinchbeck said.

Ms Madew said international research, including McGraw Hill’s Green Retail and Hospitality SmartMarket Report in 2013, shows green retail buildings outperform conventional buildings not only in terms of reduced operational costs but also their market value as a property asset.

The McGraw Hill research showed that green buildings in US retail sector were delivering a 15 per cent reduction in energy use, an eight per cent reduction in operating costs, a seven per cent increase in asset value, and an eight per cent increase in return on investment.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said “Coles was determined to develop a “supermarket of the future” and in doing so, had set a new benchmark for sustainable supermarket design in Australia.

“Coles now has a framework for sustainable supermarkets that are not only more efficient and cost-effective to run, but are also more comfortable places in which to work and shop,” Ms Madew said.

“We now have compelling international research that confirms green retail buildings – with good natural light and ventilation, high-performance heating and cooling systems, and materials low in harmful chemicals – are not only more efficient and cheaper to operate, but can also improve the experience for customers and the return on investment for owners.”

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