Burwood Brickworks: OFFICIALLY the world’s most sustainable shopping centre!!
Have you heard the news? Burwood Brickworks is now Living Building Challenge® Petal Certified! What does that mean? It means that Burwood Brickworks is OFFICIALLY the world’s most sustainable shopping centre (and the first retail centre in the world to achieve this certification)!!
We are so proud to have a Cannings shop in the world leading Burwood Brickworks Centre, and we thought this momentous occasion would be a great opportunity to remind you about what makes Cannings Burwood and the Burwood Brickworks Centre special.
What is the Living Building Challenge® anyway?
The Living Building Challenge® has been called “the ultimate green building standard”, with a goal of creating buildings that incorporate regenerative, sustainable design solutions and improve the local environment. It might sound strange, but when building Burwood Brickworks, the brief was to make the building as efficient as a simple tree. If you think of a tree - all of its energy comes from the sun and all of its water comes from the rain, it’s not producing any toxicity or pollution - it’s basically a perfect system. Just like in nature, the Brickworks team aimed to achieve the following things in the centre:
- To produce more energy than they use
- To collect their own water from rainfall
- To treat all grey, stormwater, AND blackwater on site
- To use the healthiest building materials available
- To provide a beautiful, educational and healthy environment for occupants
How did we achieve this at Brickworks?
We spoke to the wonderful Stephen over at Burwood Brickworks to get an idea of how all of this came together in the centre. He told us that all of the energy in the building is generated from solar panels on the roof and offsite wind turbines in Country Victoria. When designing the centre, energy conservation was front of mind and pops up in all kinds of small ways including closed fridges throughout (rather than open displays), centralised heating and cooling for the whole building and loads of windows for natural light (meaning the lighting used is about a quarter of what it would be in a normal fitout the same size)!
At Brickworks, water plays a big part too. Stephen told us that every drop of water is collected and directed to the basement where there is a wastewater treatment plant. This means water can be cleaned and recycled to water plants, flush the toilets, cool the building, and is even used in the centre’s carwash so no water is wasted. (Fun fact: It’s actually the only shopping centre in the world that does this!)
When building the centre, a huge focus was on materials. This meant thinking about where every single material came from, what was in it, where was the money for these materials being spent (e.g. how local were they?), what any health impacts might be and so on. Every single object in the fitout was vetted down to microscopic levels - how microscopic, you ask? 100 parts per million - which is very very small! As we all know, many building materials can be quite toxic, but at Brickworks these materials were all substituted for other (greener) materials. No stinky paint smells here! Part of this process was to lab test all interior materials with the potential to off-gas toxic chemicals for two weeks to check how much they would offgas (basically - would they give off that paint/glue smell) and if they were within safe limits, they got the seal of approval to be used in Brickworks. At Cannings, this meant that the Brickworks team tested over 100 materials used in the shop, which is pretty amazing!
The Brickworks team also love to upcycle materials wherever they can - for example, did you know the lovely timber seating outside of Cannings (and throughout the centre) is actually repurposed wood from the old pier at the Sydney Opera House?
Food production and waste management
There is a massive waste management effort at Brickworks. Did you know that more than a dozen waste streams are collected in the centre? Brickworks collects clean plastics, polystyrene, food waste, metals, glass, dog hair, you name it! And it all gets managed onsite.
The centre actually has a huge dehydrator which means the food waste doesn’t go into landfill, but instead gets processed and sent to local farmers, made into energy, or goes straight back onto the farm on the roof where they often use the outgoing soil and food waste.
And yes, you heard right - there is an actual farm on the roof of Burwood Brickworks! A pretty amazing Brickworks fact is that there is 5,000 sqm of food growing across the site. These are mostly plants, but there are also a few quails and beehives on the roof!
At Brickworks, everyone is welcome and important. The little things really do matter. This shows in the small details - like extra bicycle parking and showers for centre staff as well as the public. It shows in the new Brickworks bus stop and the focus on accessibility through the centre for those with mobility aids. It shows in the focus on lots of plants, open space, sunlight and fresh air inside and outside the building.
You might have heard over the years that the Cannings mantra is CARE, because we feel that if we put care into every aspect of our business, from how the animals are treated, who we source from, to our team, and the way we interact with our customers, we’ll end up with something we’re truly proud of. Well - what an amazing partner we’ve found in Burwood Brickworks. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading more about this amazing space. Let’s all send a huge congratulations to the Burwood Brickworks team for pulling off such a huge achievement!