The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is preparing to evolve its Green Star rating system, encouraging the built environment to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
In just over a decade, more than 2250 projects have become Green Star certified. After certifying more than 2250 buildings, 38 per cent of the country’s office space, communities home to 420,000 Australians, and shopping centres visited by more than 1.3 million people each day.
In order to maintain its impact in such a fast-moving landscape, GBCA has decided to evolve its tools. Green Star for New Buildings builds on its environmental roots to deliver a better, more accessible, and more relevant rating tool.
It features the biggest overhaul to the rating system since its inception, with an expanded scope communicated through eight brand-new categories.
Its vision statement is simple: healthy, resilient and positive places for people and nature, built responsibly and showcasing leadership.
In addition, and in line with its Carbon Positive Roadmap, GBCA is honing in on carbon emissions to encourage a net zero carbon future for the built environment, harnessing renewable energy and low-emissions technologies.
World-leading buildings are now expected to be net zero carbon, hence ramping up the system’s requirements.
A 6-Star Green Star building will have to have a low energy demand and use 100 per cent renewable electricity to meet certification requirements in 2020.
By 2023, 5-Star Green Star rated buildings will also have to source their electricity from 100 per cent renewables.
GBCA is also targeting the use of fossil fuels in buildings, with requirements to reduce their use as much as possible and offset the rest.
Under Future Focus, it will encourage the building to consider impacts beyond just its own. For example, new credits will encourage a holistic approach to address and minimise a building’s impact on neighboring buildings.
In addition, a new place-making category will encourage creating better places within our cities.
At the same time, GBCA aims to encourage those starting a sustainability journey to use Green Star.
This includes setting clear requirements and building a library of clauses, contract examples, and additional tools to help deliver energy efficient, water efficient, climate change ready buildings with good indoor environment quality.
While some of the criteria and benchmarks for Green Star ratings will change, GBCA insists it will retain its core philosophy, goals and outcomes.
The organisation believes Green Star-rated buildings will retain their competitive advantage in the crowded commercial and residential property markets, whilst continuing to save money, create healthier environments and improve the nation’s environmental sustainability.
Consultation opens as changes roll out
The GBCA arrived at the proposed new Green Star for New Buildings following significant and ongoing consultation across industry.
For more than a year it liaised with industry representatives through panel discussions, face to face meetings, and online seminars. Ten expert panels provided feedback, with over 130 participants.
Consultation is open until June for Green Star for New Buildings, the first of the Green Star Future Focused rating tools.