Hesperia’s carbon neutral industrial estate in Perth is a winner

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Roe Highway Logistics Park

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By Duncan Murray

Date: 14.09.2021

WA’s first carbon neutral industrial park

The changing urban landscape of Western Australia has played into a broad range of developments being recognised at the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) WA awards.

“These awards are representative of how our homes and lifestyles have evolved, particularly over the last decade,” UDIA WA chief executive Tanya Steinbeck said.

Ms Steinbeck said the number of entries from medium and high density developments reflected the “changing the face of metropolitan Perth”.

Winner of top gong, the Russel Perry Award, was high density apartment development, Eden West, delivered by Edge Visionary Living and designed by Hillam Architects.

Popular with downsizers and empty nesters from the local area, the development’s proximity to parks and natural bushland, as well as premium finishes and open-plan design, set it apart in the high density category.

“While there will always be a cohort of buyers seeking larger, more traditional homes in new areas, we are certainly seeing the market embrace higher density living in more established areas and that trend is only set to grow,” Ms Steinbeck said.

On the sustainability side, finishing first in the “environmental excellence” category was the Roe Highway Logistics Park (ROE) by Hesperia, which by 2022 aims to become the state’s first carbon neutral industrial estate.

Managing director and co-founder of Hesperia, Ben Lisle told The Fifth Estate his company aimed to introduce new ways of operating into the WA market and encourage other developers to act more sustainably.

To help achieve carbon neutral status, the estate developed its own low carbon concrete, on top of carrying out more traditional solar power and energy efficiency strategies, which saw it deliver Perth’s first 6-star Green Star accredited industrial facility.

It was also the first industrial estate to garner investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, totalling $95 million.

Mr Lisle said his team worked with Boral over a period of around 18-months to develop a reduced carbon emission concrete that was appropriate for the WA conditions.

“Boral’s ENVISIA product had performed exceptionally well in placement, strength and shrinkage, while also significantly reducing cement content, in the eastern states, but it had never been used in WA using our raw materials,” he explained.

“We trialled multiple pours and mixes to get to this point where it achieved the burnished finish required of an industrial application. This involved investment, however it forms part of our wider commitment to environmental sustainability and the learnings can be applied to our other projects.”

The estate sets aside space for preservation of Black Cockatoo habitat which includes a nesting area as well as ongoing bird monitoring, and research into cockatoo movements across the metropolitan area.

 

“It is perhaps unusual to see an industrial estate winning an environmental award, however, the judges just could not go past the high level of innovation and commitment that really is leading the way in WA in terms of carbon neutral outcomes,” Ms Steinbeck said.

Other initiatives include on site water recycling, 2 MW of solar PV generation, grid-friendly technology including smart inverters and metering, power factor correction and voltage control, as well as the use of energy efficient lighting and low carbon materials where possible.

“The final piece in the carbon neutral pathway is to calculate the remaining emissions footprint and offset that using high quality, nature based offset projects. Hesperia preferences Australian projects where we have good, detailed information,” Mr Lisle said.

“This involves a single offset of the embodied emissions, and ongoing offsetting of remaining operational emissions, which are small given the renewable energy input. Pleasingly, some tenants have shared they intend to go further to make their own operations carbon neutral.”