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The Declare Label: A new industry standard in product disclosure

Orignally published in Australian National Construction Review – July 2017

It’s a voluntary, affordable self-disclosure program and once a product obtains a Declare label, it is listed on a database which is free for everyone to scrutinise. Already, more than 1,000 products have been registered worldwide, including everyday building products such as concrete, flooring, paint and furniture.

It’s now up to industry to embrace the platform and, as more and more consumers demand transparency when it comes to what products are made of, those that can demonstrate leadership can use Declare as a powerful marketing tool.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting page 17 of the July 2017 edition of Australian National Construction Review


New label to standardise healthy building products

Originally published in Architecture & Design – 16 May 2017

Declare is a new ratings system for building materials that will make it easy for stakeholders to determine a product’s impact on the environment.

Recently introduced to the Australian marketplace by the Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA) – the local arm of the International Living Future Institute – the Declare label aims to create a healthier supply chain for the building products industry.

Similar to the Heart Foundation Tick and Australian Made logo, the building materials industry will now have its own transparency platform and product database.

Declare is a voluntary self-disclosure program that rates building materials based on ingredient transparency and helps developers, architects, building companies and other stakeholders – including consumers – to understand the environmental impact of a particular building material. The program encourages manufacturers of ecologically-sound products to provide product transparency and to practice toxic chemical avoidance.

LFIA executive director Stephen Choi explains that Declare bridges the knowledge gap that currently exists between industry and consumers in an easy-to-understand yet credible way.

According to Choi, consumers have traditionally had little opportunity to truly engage with the building materials industry. Only the most dedicated consumers have been able to successfully see past marketing hype.

Similar to a food product’s nutrition label, Declare lists the ingredients contained in any given building product. As an international initiative currently without precedent, Declare offers a powerful platform to push Australia forward in the world market.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting australian design review


Prefab shopping centre wins Living Building Challenge

Orignally published in australian design review – 17 Jun 2016

An innovative proposal for a prefabricated shopping centre – designed to be “screwed not glued” together and reassembled elsewhere – won the top prize at last night’s International Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition at the Melbourne School of Design.

The winning submission was a collaborative effort between dwp|suters, Aurecon, CJ Arms, Reedbed Technology, Eco Harvest, Biomimicry Australia, Future Food and Watpac.

“Among the strong calibre of entries, The Difference is Living is a worthy winner given the design’s strong alignment with the principles of the Living Building Challenge,” said Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA) vice chair Stephen Choi.

“The way the modular design came together in a functional, well-conceived way, to potentially be re-purposed elsewhere at the end of the centre’s life cycle, significantly reduces construction waste compared to a standard retail centre, and is not an approach normally considered to this extent.”

The Difference is Living places the connection between humans and the natural world at the fore

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting Architecture & Design


Eco-friendly retail centre design for the Brickworks site in Burwood East has won a global award

Orignally published by Paddy Nautin in the Whitehorse Leader – 18 Jun 2016

THE empty Brickworks site in Burwood East — soon to be home to 2000 people — was at the centre of a global design competition to create the world’s greenest retail centre.

The winning Brickworks Living Building Challenge shopping centre design was called the Difference is Living, and was designed so that it could “screwed not glued” together — to potentially be easily rebuilt elsewhere in the future.
Frasers Property Australia, which owns the site, will build a 10,530sq m shopping centre on the site, as well as 950 homes for more than 2000 people.

Living Future Institute of Australia vice-chair Stephen Choi said the relocatable design was a nifty idea, and the designers’ ability to incorporate natural surroundings had helped.

“The way the modular design came together in a functional, well-conceived way, to potentially be re-purposed elsewhere at the end of the centre’s life cycle, significantly reduces construction waste compared to a standard retail centre, and is not an approach normally considered to this extent,” Mr Choi said.

There was also a student competition as part of the Brickworks Living Building Challenge which was won by Mitcham’s Antonio Park Primary School student Olivia Murley.

Frasers Property Australia retail general manager Peri Macdonald said Olivia’s entry included an underground rain water collection tank, solar panels, and community herb garden.

“We thought Olivia’s idea to offer bike hire from the nearest train station to the shopping centre to provide a healthier transport option was particularly creative,” Mr Macdonald said.

Olivia won a state-of-the-art solar panel power system for Antonio Park Primary School to be supplied and installed by Solgen Energy.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting the Whitehorse Leader

Frasers aims sky high with world’s first Living Building Challenge shopping centre

Orignally published by Cameron Jewell in THE FIFTH ESTATE – 16 Feb 2016

Frasers Property Australia has announced its new Brickworks retail project at Burwood, Melbourne will target the stringent Living Building Challenge standard, and, to realise what seems a near-impossible feat, is calling on the world’s best minds to enter a global design competition to solve the problem of creating truly green retail.

Going after LBC certification is demanding enough for a commercial building, but for the notoriously un-green retail sector it is set to be even more difficult. In fact, according to the Living Future Institute of Australia, which administers the program, Brickworks is the first retail project in the world to consider LBC certification. It’s also the first Australian LBC project to be subject to a design comp.

To meet the Living Building Challenge, one of the world’s most exacting green building standards, developments must meet 20 “imperatives”, including being net positive on waste, water and energy, as well as creating humane places built at a human scale (there’s a challenge for retail), and having a healthy indoor environment.
Stephen Choi, vice-chair of the Living Future Institute of Australia, said he welcomed the news of a retail project pursuing LBC certification.

“Retail is a sector regrettably grounded in excess and waste,” Mr Choi said. “Shopping centre signs buzz at night, in-store mannequins are individually lit long after the customers have gone home, and we have somehow got to a point where we call natural daylight and fresh air ‘best practice’. In terms of how we design and build, it’s a sector in need of a fundamental shift and that is what the Living Building Challenge aims to deliver.”
Mr Choi told The Fifth Estate there was “a mixture of reasons” why no retail centre had pursued the Living Building Challenge before.

“Unpredictable tenants, long opening hours and a mix of stakeholders” would all add to the challenge of obtaining – and keeping – an LBC rating. And then there’s the building itself.

“Not many [retail centres] get built by very innovative thinkers,” he said. “They’re following a pretty standard model. Globally [retail construction is] quite simplistic in the way it works.”

The novelty of LBC in the retail context is part of why Frasers has gone down the design competition route.
“[A design competition is] good when you don’t know what the answer might be,” Mr Choi said.

While for commercial and educational facilities, there’s a fair idea of how a LBC standard can be met, for retail just how Frasers will get there is unclear.

Think about the amount of surface car parking in a traditional retail centre. According to Mr Choi, this would not make the cut for the Living Building Challenge. And what about the traditional “closed box” environment of supermarkets that don’t allow for natural light and ventilation, confusing layouts designed to keep buyers shopping, the amount of food waste generated by supermarkets and businesses in food courts, and heavy use of mechanical ventilation? All these problems and more will need to be solved to realise a truly sustainable retail centre.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Mr Choi said, understatedly. “But that’s not a reason not to try.”

The competition, he said, was attempting to “dramatically raise the bar from a paradigm of doing less harm when we build, to one in which we view our role as steward and co-creator of a true living future”.

The view from Frasers

The development itself is set to comprise about 12,000 square metres of space, with about a third set for an anchor supermarket, with space also earmarked for childcare, a medical centre and about 30 specialty stores.

Frasers general manager – retail Peri Macdonald said the Living Building Challenge and design comp aimed to unlock new possibilities in sustainable design in retail.

“Frasers Property is aspiring not only to create the world’s most sustainable retail centre, but a project that actually generates a net positive, regenerative impact on the environment,” he said. “Ideally the challenge will uncover the kind of progressive design that will enable us to achieve our aspirations.”

Mr Mcdonald said the competition was “calling on extraordinary people to think boldly”.

“This design competition is not just about using tools or securing ratings, it invites design teams, professionals, students and anyone else interested to not just think outside the square, but re-invent the box.”

However, the success of design comp will be key to whether Frasers pursues a LBC rating, according to Frasers general manager, sustainability Paolo Bevilacqua.

“There’s no point in achieving a challenge if it doesn’t operate successfully as a retail centre,” he said.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting THE FIFTH ESTATE


Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition

Orignally published in Green magazine – 03 Mar 2016

Today the Living Future Institute of Australia (LFIA) will formally launch the Brickworks Living Building Challenge design competition at a special event in Melbourne, pressing the go button for designers, built environment professionals and students around the world to conceptualise what the world’s most sustainable retail centre looks like.

The LFIA and its principal partner Frasers Property Australia, whose Brickworks retail project in Burwood East is the focus of the Living Building Challenge, will provide a formal brief to some of the most talented, inquisitive and passionate minds in the property, design, retail and other industries.

Guest MC, champion of all things sustainability Joost Bakker, will oversee proceedings while Stephen Choi, Vice-Chair of the Living Future Institute of Australia, and Peri Macdonald, General Manager – Retail, Frasers Property Australia, will explain the framework for the international design competition.

The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most aspirational and rigorous green building performance standard. The Challenge has never before had a retail centre as its centrepiece, nor has an Australian project been subject to such a design competition before.

The competition invites design teams, professionals, students and anyone interested in a regenerative future to re-imagine the possibilities when it comes to the design of retail centres by answering the question:
What does the world’s most sustainable retail centre look like?

Submissions close on May 6, to be judged by a panel of industry experts from Australia and around the world. The winner will be announced in June 2016 and will share in prize money totalling more than $30,000.

But it’s not just design professionals in the mix to win. Students local to the Brickworks site will have the chance to present their best ideas too.

The LFIA is opening the challenge to local primary school students, who will have the opportunity to win solar panels for their school and create a legacy for the project.

Local school principals and members of Whitehorse Council have been invited to attend the official Brickworks Living Building Challenge launch on Thursday.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting Green magazine


Frasers and the Living Future aim for ‘toxic free’ mall

Orignally published by Robert Harley in The Australian Financial Review – 02 Mar 2016

Frasers Property Australia and the Living Future Institute of Australia want to re-imagine the shopping centre.
On Thursday they will launch the Brickworks Living Building Challenge to design the “world’s most sustainable shopping centre” for the new Burwood brickworks in suburban Melbourne.

The vice chairman of the Living Future Institute of Australia, Stephen Choi, said retail was a sector “regrettably grounded in excess and waste”.

“We have somehow got to a point where we call natural daylight and fresh air best practice,” he said.

His aim is for a building that, among other metrics, is “informed by its bioregion’s characteristics, that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water, is toxic free and beautiful”.
Frasers general manager retail, Peri Macdonald, said the challenge aimed to unlock new possibilities in sustainable design in retail.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting The Australian Financial Review


Sustainable retail challenge: Is an energy-positive shopping centre possible?

Orignally published by Sue Williams in Commercial Real Estate – 23 Feb 2016

Australia is challenging some of the best minds in the world to come up with what many have long believed is absolutely impossible: a sustainable, regenerative, energy-positive shopping centre.

Retail centres are traditionally among the biggest energy-wasters and rubbish-producers on earth, with 24-hour lighting, fierce air-conditioning to lure shoppers, electronic signs constantly ablaze and outlets competing for customers.

But now the Living Future Institute (LFI) of Australia is launching a global competition inviting architects, designers, environmental experts and students to come up with a world-first vision of what a sustainable retail centre might look like – set on a former industrial site in Melbourne.

An expert international jury will pick the winner from all the entries, and the owner of the site, Frasers Property Australia, will then implement the ideas into the overall design of the new retail and residential project Brickworks in Burwood.

“It’s called the Living Building Challenge because that’s exactly what it is: a challenge,” says Stephen Choi, vice-chair of the LFI in Australia, an environmental non-government organisation with its HQ in Seattle. “We don’t know if it is possible and, even if it is, it won’t be easy.

“There isn’t a retail centre in the world so far that has met the stringent standards required to make a positive, regenerative impact on the environment but we’re hoping casting a global net like this will come up with a design or some great ideas of how it can be achieved.”

The principal partner of the challenge, Frasers Property, is keen to be the first to be able to build such a retail centre.

Already its residential development, One Central Park in Sydney, has won international awards for its sustainable design and their shopping centre at The Ponds in north west Sydney late last year became Australia’s first – and only – six-star Green Star Design-rated retail hub as certified by the Green Building Council of Australia.

“We are passionate as a company about sustainability across all of our activities and would love to be able to create the world’s most sustainable retail centre here in Australia,” says Peri Macdonald, Frasers’ general manager, retail.
“The design competition will attract designers from around the world who will hopefully have some fantastic ideas that can be incorporated into the design for the overall site. It’s pretty exciting.

“The Ponds is six-star and high performance, but even that is still having an impact on the environment. This new project we want to be both regenerative of the environment and restorative.”

The Brickworks site covers over 20 hectares in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, with the retail sector 2.7 hectares of the total. It could include around 50 shops to make it economically workable.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting Commercial Real Estate


Australia’s world first project

Orignally published in ragtrader – 29 Feb 2016

What does the world’s most sustainable retail centre look like?

That is the question being asked to designers globally as part of the Brickworks Living Building Challenge competition.

The Living Future Institute of Australia, in partnership with Frasers Property Australia, is hosting the global design competition.

It will see Fraser Property Australia’s Brickworks retail project as the focus of the world’s most rigorous green building performance standard – the Living Building Challenge.

Living Future Institute of Australia vice chair Stephen Choi welcomed the retail project to pursue the Living Building Challenge.

“Retail is a sector regrettably grounded in excess and waste.

“Shopping centre signs buzz at night, instore mannequins are individually lit long after the customers have gone home, and we have somehow got to a point where we call natural daylight and fresh air ‘best practice’.

“In terms of how we design and build, it’s a sector in need of a fundamental shift and that is what the Living Building Challenge aims to deliver.

“For the 2016 Brickworks Living Building Challenge competition, we are casting a global net in an attempt to dramatically raise the bar from a paradigm of doing less harm when we build, to one in which we view our role as steward and co-creator of a true living future. “

“This challenge is a first in a number of respects: the Living Building Challenge has never before had a retail centre as its centrepiece, nor has an Australian project been subject to such a design competition.

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting Ragtrader


Living Building Challenge looking for Australia’s most sustainable shopping centre design

Orignally published by Dan Rule in The Sydney Morning Herald – 25 Feb 2016

Although we’ve made our share of progress in at least making sustainable building practices part of the conversation in Australia, we still have a long way to go before they become mainstream, especially in a profit-driven development and commercial sector.

A new design and building competition is looking to change that. The Living Future Institute of Australia has launched the inaugural Living Building Challenge, which calls on architects, designers and students to design a shopping centre that lives up to meticulous environmental, self-sustaining standards, including generating its own energy and capturing and treating its own water.

The competition – which engages the former Boral Brickworks site in Burwood – references the international building certification tool “Living Building Challenge”

……. You can read the rest of the article by visiting The Sydney Morning Herald


Green Star and Living Building Challenge partner to streamline dual certification

Media release by the GBCA – 02 Mar 2016

New guidance aims to streamline certification efforts for Green Star and Living Building Challenge.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the International Living Future Institute (IFLI) today released a new guidance document to streamline certification efforts for projects pursuing both Green Star and Living Building Challenge ratings.

This follows a commitment by the two organisations in 2016 to work collaboratively to promote the design, construction and operations of positive and restorative buildings in Australia.

“Increasingly, leaders in Australia’s property and construction industry are looking to pursue more than one rating to demonstrate transparency, accountability and sustainability,” says the GBCA’s Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa.

“By working together, we’ve identified the overlaps between the two rating systems so that project teams can avoid duplication of effort. As a result, achieving both Green Star and Living Building Challenge ratings will be faster and cheaper.”

“This partnership comes at a critical time where our collective work is more important than ever,” says Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of ILFI.

“This will allow project teams pursuing ratings with both systems easier access to essential information and ultimately, accelerate the move to regenerative design.”

ILFI is represented in Australia by the Living Future Institute Australia (LFIA).

……. You can read the rest of the release by visiting theGBCA website