Chatswood Chase in Sydney is the first shopping centre in Australia to sign up for a Green Star – Performance rating, a tool launched by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) last October to assess and improve the ongoing energy, water and resource efficiency of existing buildings.

Owned by CFS Retail Property Trust Group (CFX), Chatswood Chase will be assessed against best practice benchmarks for sustainable building operations under this rating tool, with identified pathways to improve and future proof the asset.

“As our shopping centres are focal points of their communities, we set high standards in managing them and we have focused on improving the efficiency of our assets for some time now,” head of Sustainability for CFX, Rowan Griffin, says.

“Improving the operational performance of our centres reduces outgoings, which is better for both our tenants and our investors.”

International research has shown that retail centres that adopt green building principles, such as prioritising natural light and ventilation, and incorporating materials that are low in harmful chemicals, can improve retail takings.

This is backed up by a study by Heschong Mahone in 2003, which found that daylighting could increase sales by up to 40 per cent.

Another 2012 study from the US-based University of Notre Dame also showed that green-rated bank branches opened 458 more consumer deposit accounts, and had US$3 million more in consumer deposit balances per year over non-certified properties.

“While 23 retail centres around Australia have achieved Green Star ratings for their base building developments or substantial refurbishments, for the first time, owners of existing shopping centres can put themselves on an equal footing with the owners of new centres,” says GBCA’s chief executive Romilly Madew.

“A Green Star rating spells lower operating costs and can mean faster attraction of tenants and buyers, increased employee productivity and engagement, and improved asset value.”