Industrial sector presents powerful opportunities

26 Aug 2020

Our recent report, ‘Green Star in focus: The case for sustainable industrial buildings,’ shines a light on the growing demand for healthier, more resilient industrial buildings. We spoke to Andrew Thai, Sustainability Manager, Frasers Property Industrial and Green Star Champion, about their shift to focus on volume certification.

Industrial buildings of the past are characterised by smokestacks, smog and abandoned warehouses, leaving both a mark on the landscape and problems for future generations. Today investors are increasingly avoiding high risk buildings that pollute and contribute to climate change, and are at risk of becoming stranded assets. Instead they are opting for responsible, safe and sustainable assets that will stand the test of time. 

Frasers Property Industrial’s sustainability framework, A Different Way, meets these requirements with three foundations: acting progressively, consuming responsibly, and focusing on people. By setting market-leading benchmarks, Frasers Property Industrial aims to create places where quality and sustainability can coexist.

Green Star certification aids these ambitions. “We see value in obtaining a Green Star rating for a building as it is a demonstration of a mark of a quality development, that has been independently verified, to our customers,” said Andrew.

Frasers Property Industrial’s journey started in 2013 with their first Green Star industrial pilot, soon mapping a pathway to volume certification. Since 2013, they have certified 79 properties with Green Star performance ratings, with 43 of those in their current portfolio with Green Star Design & As Built ratings today.

When certifying projects at scale, value is essential. Andrew says the volume process has helped Frasers Property Industrial gain a greater understanding of outlays. “As we standardise the approach, we obtain greater certainty of development costs and can achieve economies of scale as we take learnings from past projects into new developments.” 

The award-winning Horsley Drive Business Park in Western Sydney showcases Frasers Property Industrial’s commitment to quality and sustainability. The fully occupied industrial park boasts their first trial of geothermal air conditioning system, 1.1MW of solar and EV charging stations and has achieved a 6 Star Green Star rating – the first industrial park in Australia to do so. Its customers reflect the varied sector and include hi-tech manufacturing, chilled food distribution, homewares manufacturing and distribution and advanced logistics.  

While customers like these benefit from the online shopping boom, they seek space, efficiency and safe environments. They also look for lower operational costs. “All of our customers always want to reduce the cost of their operations and as a result, we’ve seen features like LED lighting, rainwater tanks, metering and monitoring and solar becoming more and more common place, and usually is expected,” explains Andrew.

Expectations of renewables, water conservation and energy efficiency are a leap away from the industrial buildings of the past, but GBCA CEO, Davina Rooney, says the industrial sector could make an even bigger contribution to emissions reduction.

“The sheer size of industrial facilities means they can play a big role in increasing rooftop solar PV capacity. If we put solar panels on all industrial facilities in Australia, we could almost double our capacity – from the current 6,500 Megawatts (MW), to 12,800MW,” says Davina.

With Green Star certified industrial buildings producing 66% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than standard buildings, the next decade presents a powerful opportunity for the sector to move away from underperforming and uncompetitive assets, to future-proof buildings that can respond to the climate change challenge.


Read the Green Star Industrial report