Country Road honours heritage in new store

29 May 2024

"Now Country Road has gone above and beyond this achievement by securing 6 Star Green Star certifications for the High Point and Ballarat stores. Not only is this a first for the fashion retail sector, but it's also a trailblazing example of world leadership from a company reaching new heights of environmentally conscious store."


CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia

Longtime member of the Green Building Council of Australia, Country Road has successfully tackled its latest challenge – transforming an empty heritage building in the heart of Ballarat into a 6 Star Green Star flagship store.

With an extensive list of 5 Star Green Star Interiors rated stores across Australia, Country Road is paving a green path for the retail industry.

However, 2024 is the year Country Road decided to level up their achievements, with not one, but two of their stores achieving 6 Star certifications within the same month.

For Country Road, it is a year of firsts. Country Road Highpoint in Victoria officially claimed the title of the first fashion retail 6 Star rated store in Australia, with the brand’s Ballarat store coming a close second.

So how did the team pull off not only their first 6 Star Green Star rated store, Highpoint, but also a monumental heritage building renovation and 6 Star Green Star rated project in Ballarat?

According to Melanie Green, Head of Real Estate at Country Road Group, it’s about bringing everyone on the ride together.

“Involve everyone right at the start of the process and work as a team with a common goal. Be outcome focused and resolve problems that will crop up as a team. Use it to educate the team through training on site and make contractors feel part of the process.”

A new lease on life

The heritage bank building in Ballarat has been given a new lease of life after previously standing unoccupied for 8 years, a transformation that is one of Country Road’s most impressive projects yet — a flagship store for the future.

When it came time to choose the location for Country Road’s newest regional store, celebrating local heritage felt like the obvious choice. It also brought with it an opportunity to lean into innovation and circularity by preserving a building that means something to the community, while using locally sourced and recycled materials to reflect the Australian town aesthetic.

In doing so, not only has Country Road hit sustainability, innovation, and circularity targets — they have listened to the community and created what is now a highlight of Ballarat’s main strip.

“The heritage site allowed us to target and achieve an innovation point that was important to reaching 6 Stars. It also emphasised the importance of sites as having heritage value and not just buildings,” said Country Road Group, Head of Real Estate, Melanie Green.

PC: David Mitchener

A renovation with innovation

As this project would be going where Country Road had not gone before, both in terms of reaching for a 6 Star Green Star Interiors rating, and the heritage building itself, GBCA was brought along from very early in the process. Involving Country Road’s Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) at pre-design phase (site handover) instead of at design stage, meant that the Green Star project team could help them explore new credits not previously targeted by the team — and whether the project could aim for 6 Star Green Star.

This essential step made all the difference in securing 6 Stars, according to Country Road.

Being in regional Victoria, innovation was key when working to transform an old bank located in a heritage zone, into an efficient, comfortable, and responsible building for the community to enjoy. For the first time, Country Road used Virtual Reality from Big Plans, to inform design decisions without physically having to be on site.

The use of virtual reality decreased the overall potential emissions it would have created transporting the team to site every time they wanted to make even the smallest of design decisions. It also meant that the team could walk through the project and get a feel for what they were creating beforehand, ensuring they liked the design, colours and furniture before transporting the materials to the site – minimising copious amounts of potential waste.

Using a local Ballarat architect, Moloney Architects, the team behind the store sought out credits not yet attempted in any of their previous 15 certified stores, including the use of an independent commissioning team and responsible construction practices, which turned out to be incredibly beneficial not only for the team and credits, but for the build itself.

The team continued the theme of ‘keeping it local’ by working with The Green House Ballarat nursery for both the garden and planting supplies, and installation.

PC: David Mitchener


Without this store, the Green Star Innovation credit would not have been met, and a new commitment to circularity may not have come around as quickly for Country Road. The ‘Country Road Group Circularity Procedure for Store Design and Development’, created for the Ballarat project will be used on future stores moving forward showing the ongoing impact one project can have.
And while the renovation itself is a testament to Country Road’s commitment to circularity, the interiors of the store are reflection of that too - much like inside the first 6 Star Green Star store, Country Road Highpoint. And across most, if not all, Green Star rated Country Road stores, interior decisions are made with recycling, and upcycling in mind, including damaged ceramic mugs that are recycled to make the benchtop slabs you see in-store.
From rugs made from recycled polyester, upcycled wool upholstered chairs and kids’ chairs made from recycled toys, to fitting room hooks made from post consumer plastic waste – nothing is left unconsidered.

Features of note

  • Glare control and daylight modelling for customer and staff visual comfort, as well as energy-efficient lighting design.
  • Fixtures designed for modularity and circularity, with wall cladding installed for easy removal and repurposing.
  • Renewable energy used in store (Country Road Ballarat uses a combination of RE supply and LGC)
  • Recycled terracotta floor tiles throughout.
  • Ultra-low VOC paints and finishes.
  • Wood used in the renovation was sourced from responsibly managed forests and manufactured from off-cuts.

Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, celebrated the success of not one but two Country Road 6 Star Green Star stores.

''In 2019, Country Road set itself and Australia's fashion retail industry an ambitious benchmark for the design of healthy and environmentally responsible stores by achieving the nation's first 5 Star Green Star Interiors certified store. Now Country Road has gone above and beyond this achievement by securing 6 Star Green Star certifications for the High Point and Ballarat stores.

Not only is this a first for the fashion retail sector, but it's also a trailblazing example of world leadership from a company reaching new heights of environmentally conscious store. From the store design and sustainability teams who innovated to deliver these stores, to the leadership team pushing boundaries, and the staff who are fortunate to work in these healthy spaces every day, Green Building Council of Australia congratulates all involved.”