Vicinity’s Climate Resilience Implementation Plan details various actions to enhance and improve our resilience to climate change impacts at a corporate and at a centre level. This includes both short-term and long-term actions over a five year period (2018-2023). Initiatives implemented to date are outlined below:
Climate risk objectives have been embedded into Vicinity’s long-term strategic asset plans to inform risk and opportunity considerations for each asset over the short and medium term. For centres that have higher exposure to physical climate risks, initiatives to enhance resilience are being considered alongside other capital projects.
Integrating climate risk considerations into the design process of our development projects is critical to improving climate resilience and provides a cost-effective opportunity to integrate such measures. As such, Climate resilience and adaptation assessments are now mandatory for all new developments. This requirement is integrated into the broader design and delivery process via the Sustainable Design Brief (launched in January 2018), which includes a Climate Resilience and Adaptation Plan template through which assessments are conducted and which is aligned to best practice Green Star requirements.
In FY20, we completed a Climate Resilience and Adaptation Plan for our development project at Ellenbrook Central, WA. Ellenbrook Central (WA) was certified with a 5 Star Green Star Design & As Built V1.2 Design Review Rating, and developed a Climate Resilience and Adaptation Plan which included the following features:
- Coating the roof in a material with high solar reflectivity to reflect heat away from the building;
- Locating the majority of the mechanical, electrical and IT plant on the roof to reduce the risk from flooding;
- Solar shading implemented in the carpark to reduce heat island impact and improve shopper comfort when returning to vehicles;
- An 800KW solar system installed on the site, helping to manage peak electricity loads at the centre; and
- Accommodation of increased rainfall events in the drainage system design.
Climate change management via our operations is a priority for Vicinity. We have incorporated physical climate risk considerations into each assets’ risk register, and identified actions to increase resilience are included in strategic asset plans. We also regularly engage and educate our operations teams to build their climate resilience knowledge and capacity. Our asset risk registers are used to demonstrate how we have addressed climate risks at each centre and increased resilience and adaptive capacity over time.
Vicinity has additionally implemented scalable portfolio-wide improvements to how we manage climate risk at centres. For example, we developed a stormwater management program to improve the resilience of onsite stormwater infrastructure and better prepare for heavy rainfall events. We piloted the program at Broadmeadows shopping centre, VIC which proved to be a success, avoiding $13,000 in flood damage costs. As a result, the program is now being implemented across all centres. Vicinity’s landscaping standard has also been updated to specify native and drought tolerant plants to increase resilience during times of drought and extreme heat.
Our Crisis and Emergency Management System (CEMS) focuses on consumer, retailer and community safety at our centres during extreme weather events. The CEMS includes procedures outlining our response to heat waves, flooding and power outages. Our existing cyclone emergency procedure has been expanded to include high wind event responses, and a procedure for Extreme Weather Warnings has been implemented to assist local operations teams to effectively prepare centres and retailers in advance when extreme weather events have been forecasted.
Climate resilience continues to be a key consideration for Vicinity during plant and equipment upgrades and replacements. For example, in 2019 during an air conditioning unit upgrade at Nepean Village, NSW higher capacity units were installed to ensure the centre could remain cool during heatwaves, improving the centres’ resilience to increasing higher outdoor air temperatures. This improvement was made in response to the existing air conditioning units’ inability to run effectively during heatwave events, an increasingly regular event in Penrith, NSW.
In 2018, Vicinity committed $73m to an onsite solar rollout program across 20 centres, protecting against power outages, insulating roofs, decreasing air conditioning loads, and reducing the heat island effect through the installation of solar carpark shading – see Low Carbon Smart Assets for more details. Our industry-leading solar program continued throughout FY20. We installed 25.2MW of solar across our managed portfolio by the end of FY20, completing installations at Castle Plaza, Elizabeth City Centre, Altona Gate, Victoria Gardens, DFO Homebush, Ellenbrook Central and Livingston Marketplace during the year
Solar installation at Gympie Central Shopping Centre (QLD)