As energy costs rise, so do the returns achievable from solar energy and in FY18 we partnered with Woolworths to install Australia’s largest industrial solar power system at the new Woolworths distribution centre in Dandenong South, Victoria. The $500 million development will not only be the largest state-of-the-art distribution centre in Australia, it raises the bar in terms of both operational innovation and energy efficiency.
With more than 120 tenancies across the Group, Woolworths is a major tenant customer and we are very focused on meeting its needs. We acquired the 16–hectare site in mid–2016 and worked closely with Woolworths as it developed the 70,000 sqm facility.
With 3,800 panels producing 1MW of power, the solar power system on the facility’s 1.2 hectare roof will meet 20% of its energy needs and deliver a return on investment within five years.
Adding to the building’s energy efficiency is a solar hot water system for staff amenities, LED lighting throughout, and daylight harvesting via roof skylights with sensors and controls. The building itself has been designed with considerable ventilation, reducing the need for air conditioning, and features Power Factor Correction and Harmonics Management for efficient power utilisation. A 141,000 litre roof rainwater collection tank, water efficient tapware and water sensitive landscaping ensure that water is used efficiently.
As the first fully automated case–picking distribution centre in Australia, the Woolworths Dandenong facility represents a step change in logistics for all Australian supermarkets. Equipped with 14–15 cranes, more than 14 kilometers of conveyors, and automatic guided vehicles, the distribution centre brings a range of new innovations in logistics and distribution. In addition, the office spaces within the warehouse now occupy a larger footprint, reflecting the changing nature of the workforce, and the increased emphasis on the fulfilment and modelling of operations. The office areas within the logistics centres now take a more CBD office fitout style, incorporating break–out and wellbeing areas, and delivering an enhanced experience for workers in an industrial setting.
With the Woolworths facility expected to be fully operational in FY19, we look forward to seeing this future–focused logistics centre in action. As our logistics portfolio continues to grow, we continue to work with our customers to achieve their productivity and sustainability goals.