Taking a stroll through West Village, in Brisbane’s eclectic suburb of West End, its credentials as a world class sustainable community come to life. Brimming with cafes and casual dining, gardens and abundant open space, West Village is transforming and connecting the local community through a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating.
Due for completion in 2022, Sekisui House’s $1 billion West Village project is targeting environmental, economic and social impact, giving new life to heritage-listed Peters Ice Cream Factory, which spans 2.6 hectares.
West Village Sustainability & Engagement Manager, Natasha Mulcahy, says that community engagement has been a particularly special consideration for the precinct, with its artist-in-residence program a rousing success for drawing in diverse members of the local community.
“Our extensive arts program has been extraordinarily well received by the community,” explains Natasha.
“More than 20,000 children have visited our free art studio since it opened on-site in 2016.
“Through our artist-in-residence program, we have been able to support numerous charities and young local artists have received invaluable mentoring.
“We have worked with artist-in-residence David Bromley on the design of buildings and public spaces, and Bromley & Co artworks feature throughout.”
Natasha also points to the power of social media in building positive messaging around the development.
“The program has also provided a great point of difference for our sales and marketing,” she says.
“Videos featuring our arts initiatives have attracted more than 350,000 views on Facebook.”
With the Brisbane’s inner-city suburb attracting young professionals and families, residents will also benefit from two new parks, a childcare centre and community facilities.
Once fully built, the West Village precinct will provide significant economic benefits each year, including:
- An increase in industry output of $186.1 million in the Queensland economy each year
- Contribution of $93.8 million to Queensland’s Gross State Product each year
- Provision of around 860 additional long term jobs in Queensland providing $50.6 million in wages and salaries for Queenslanders each year
On an environmental scale, West Village is tackling key sustainability challenges such as carbon, biodiversity, water and waste through multiple touchpoints, which include:
- Rain water and grey water recycling system to ‘drought- proof’ the extensive gardens and public realm
- Targeting ‘zero food waste to landfill’ in our retail precinct through a food rescue program and organic waste recycling
- Improving biodiversity with native vegetation and bee hives
- LED lighting used throughout apartments and the public realm
- 100% of energy supplied to site carbon offset
- On-site energy generation including a 30kw solar PV system already installed in stage 1
- Delivering two new parks
- 10,000 plants including 10% deep planted trees
- 30% of the site dedicated to publicly accessible space
- 10 car-share vehicles and 6 electric vehicle charging stations
- 1600 bicycle parks and end-of-trip facilities
- A new community facility and child care centre
- An on-site school of construction with an award-winning Indigenous participation program
Striking this balance between social, environmental and economic impact on the local community certainly comes with its challenges, as Natasha explains.
“On-site renewable energy generation is a major challenge given the dense inner-city environment,” she says.
“The benefits from rooftop solar also must be weighed against the opportunity to create resident recreational and green spaces, which provide an environment for community building.
“We chose to balance these competing objectives in stage 1 of the development by installing a 30kW system on one building rooftop, and a roof-top recreational space on the other. In stage 2, we will install another 25kw system.
“Through our embedded energy network, we are also ensuring all energy supplied to site is 100% carbon offset.”
Finding innovative solutions to sustainability challenges has earned West Village a 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating, demonstrating world leadership in urban renewal.
Sekisui House is thrilled with its achievement and the guidance that Green Star has offered in creating a positive impact on the local community.
“Green Star pushes us to look at sustainability innovations and keeps our consultants focused on sustainability outcomes and compliance,” says Natasha.