Chirnside Park certified as Victoria’s first carbon neutral shopping centre

16 February 2023

GPT’s Chirnside Park Shopping Centre, owned by the GPT Wholesale Shopping Centre Fund, has been certified carbon neutral, becoming the first retail asset in Victoria to meet the requirements and achieve the Climate Active certification.

Located in Melbourne’s east, Chirnside Park achieved the required 12-months of continuous carbon neutral operations in late 2022, and recently received its independent certification from Climate Active.

Carbon neutrality has been primarily achieved by reducing and eliminating emissions through a more than 50 per cent improvement in energy efficiency, and then a switch to renewable electricity. Where emissions from waste, gas and water are not able to be reduced further, GPT offsets through its partnership with Greenfleet, a not-for-profit environmental organisation committed to protecting the climate through Australian native biodiverse forest restoration projects, as well as the emissions avoided by undertaking renewable energy projects.

This approach continues to be implemented in line with the ambitious target for all assets that GPT operationally controls and that we have an ownership interest in to be certified carbon neutral by the end of 2024.

Chris Barnett, Head of Retail and Mixed-Use at GPT, said: “The property sector accounts for a substantial proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning this is a significant industry milestone. GPT is committed to our position as an industry leader in reducing carbon emissions and we are thrilled Chirnside Park is the first Victorian shopping centre to be certified carbon neutral. This achievement continues to  deliver benefits to our tenants through energy efficiency savings while assisting them to achieve their own targets to reduce emissions.” 

David Sleet, Fund Manager for GWSCF, said: “Moving towards carbon neutral is a key goal for the GWSCF portfolio and the certification of Chirnside Park is a substantial achievement in progressing toward this target. GWSCF continues to invest in the portfolio to drive leading sustainability results as well as above-benchmark financial returns for the benefit of investors in the Fund.”

Supporting the carbon neutral target with an orderly decarbonisation transition plan, Chirnside Park has become a ‘Smart Energy Hub’ that includes a 2 megawatt-hour battery coupled with a 650 kilowatt solar array, in addition to a flexible energy consumption program that enhances the stability of the electricity grid during times of energy supply constraints. The ‘Smart Energy Hub’ uses predictive technology that enables electricity demand reductions of up to 70 per cent of peak demand loads, which also assists in lowering the total cost of energy for the asset. The solar array is predicted to save more than 800,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year – equivalent to the energy use of around 350 homes.

Steve Ford, Head of Sustainability at GPT, said: “GPT is committed to climate action and biodiversity protection through the delivery of carbon neutral outcomes including the reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from our buildings. We are proud to be playing our part in the global energy transition and the shift to a low-carbon economy, which results in better environmental outcomes for communities like Chirnside Park.”

The certification follows another of GPT’s retail assets, Rouse Hill Town Centre in Sydney, NSW, receiving carbon neutral certification in late-2022. GPT is the first company to deliver both carbon neutral certified operating buildings and developments by Climate Active, and were recently ranked first among more than 800 listed real estate companies in the 2022 S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment.