Stokehouse Sustainability

5 mins reading

We are hoping to motivate many other
hospitality venues around Australia
to follow and achieve a similar result.

According to John Lethlean, Australia’s sole national restaurant critic, “Stokehouse would have to be THE Melbourne dining experience.” Keep in mind, as well, that Lethlean resides in the Victorian capital, so he is a touch familiar with the intricacies of the city’s dining scene. Understandably, accolades of this magnitude are few and far between. Recently, however, Stokehouse Precinct has been the proud recipient of an equally impressive accolade – a 5-star rating, to be precise. Surprisingly, though, this 5-star rating is neither food nor wine related. Rather, it is a 5-Star ‘Australian Excellence’ Green Star Design & As Built Rating that has been awarded by Green Building Council Australia. The rating is a Southern Hemisphere-first for a fine-dining restaurant and is consistent with Port Phillip Council’s sustainability initiatives for major tenants. As many Melburnians would recall, Stokehouse Precinct was devastated by fire in 2014. It was then rebuilt in 2016 as a result of the collaboration between local council and owner Frank van Haandel, with the building being reinstated in a contemporary form while becoming one of the first 5-Star Green Star Design & As Built buildings of its type. Interestingly, and very much innovatively, sustainability was not an afterthought for the precinct rebuild. Instead, it was integral to the design, construction and operation of the venue.

The sustainability features of the new-and-improved Stokehouse Precinct are many. Each feature has been carefully considered and thought out. Collectively, they have created a hospitality venue that is literally powered by the earth. A cursory discussion of the features’ specifics is both insightful and fascinating. To begin with, a geothermal-hybrid system has been implemented to heat and cool the facility by using the earth’s constant underground temperature. 50-60m wells allow the refrigerant to be circulated through 18 units, heating and/or cooling the facility based on demand. This system is considerably more efficient than traditional heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Next, a roof-based east-and-west-facing 28kW solar set-up captures the morning sun to help with the conditioning of the restaurant at the beginning of the day and captures the evening sun when occupancy is at its peak. A 210kW battery system has also been installed, which is capable of storing excess solar power during the day, offsetting peak demand. Furthermore, it is capable of providing backup power during outages, ensuring Stokehouse Precinct remains operable regardless of grid status. Cutting-edge waste management relies on a range of innovative technologies and procedures so as to maximise reuse and develop a circular economy. Finally, the timber flooring throughout the restaurant has been milled with reclaimed Cypress Macrocarpa and Monterey Pine timber gathered from a farm wind-break in Gippsland. The trees were partially fallen and coming to the end of their life cycles. The use of reclaimed timber demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, as these are natural materials that would otherwise go unused. These are but a few of Stokehouse Precinct’s sustainability initiatives.

For a comprehensive list, visit and click on the Sustainability link.

In addition to the above sustainability measures, Stokehouse is formally committed to maintaining and improving the following stipulated benchmarks for local food-and-beverage procurement for at least 10 years of operation. 10-20% of produce will be sourced from local Victorian organic farmers. 70% of produce will be sourced from Victorian farmers, with 100% sourced from Australian farmers. 100% of seafood will be sourced from within Australia, with 40-50% from within the Port Phillip Bay area. Lastly, but most definitely not leastly, 100% of house beer is to be produced from Australian breweries. Owner Frank van Haandel describes his feelings surrounding Stokehouse’s recent sustainability success: “I am extremely proud of what we have achieved when it comes to sustainability at the new Stokehouse Precinct and what we have learned. We are hoping to motivate many other hospitality venues around Australia to follow and achieve a similar result.” He also notes, “Because of a large volume of people attending our restaurant, it obviously uses a high volume of energy – including gas, electricity, water – and, therefore, making a 5-Green Star rating an incredible achievement.”

Visit the future of hospitality sustainability at 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda, and experience, firsthand, environmental conscientiousness.

Stokehouse, St Kilda

Stokehouse, St Kilda

Stokehouse, St Kilda