Eligibility criteria


Eligibility for Green Star certification is based on the Green Star rating tool and the project undertaking certification. Any new or existing building, new fitout, or master-planned precinct can achieve a Green Star rating using our internationally-recognised certification system.

The Green Star rating tools

  • For communities, precincts, and neighbourhoods (Green Star – Communities)
  • For new buildings or major refurbishments (Green Star – Design & As Built)
  • For new fitouts (Green Star – Interiors)
  • For building operations (Green Star – Performance)

If you have checked the eligibility criteria and you're still unsure whether your project is eligible, request online for an eligibility ruling from the GBCA.

Note, registration does not guarantee assessment; no project will be assessed if it is deemed ineligible against the eligibility criteria current at the time of registration. The GBCA reserves the right to deny eligibility to any project that is deemed to compromise the Green Star brand, and to revise these criteria to better achieve the goals of the Green Star rating tools.

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Green Building Council of Australia

+61 2 8239 6200


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Contact us The rating system

Green Star – Communities
eligibility criteria

All communities, precincts and developments aiming to achieve a Green Star – Communities certified rating are subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Space use

Timing of certification

Conditional requirements

District boundary

Space use

To meet the space use eligibility criterion, a project‘s plan for development must include the development of any size and mixture of Class 1-9 structures (except Class 4), as classified under the National Construction Code (NCC).

There are no size requirements imposed for Green Star – Communities project eligibility. Instead the rating tool is designed to be used by projects when the majority of the following points apply:

  • The development will result in significant extra burdens on public transport systems or highways requiring extra capacity or new transport infrastructure (cycle and pedestrian routes, roads, parking, etc.).
  • The development includes or makes use of adjacent areas of public realm for occupants and visitors.
  • The development will lead to the enhancement, diversification or addition of local employment, social mix, or ecological value.
  • The development includes dwellings that will require the provision of new, or additional capacity in existing, medical centres, schools, retail centres, places of religious worship, and other similar facilities and services.
  • The scale of the development could create opportunities for community-level provision of utilities including energy, water and waste services or where there would be potential for linking the project to other new or existing developments in the area to make such options viable.
  • The development is likely to have a significant impact on existing communities.

A project team should be able to apply the majority of these statements to their development. It is not an exhaustive list, but a guideline to the attributes of developments that will benefit from the application of the Green Star – Communities rating tool.

Timing of certification

To meet the timing of certification criteria:

  1. Initial project certification must be achieved within three years of registration; and
  2. Recertification must be achieved within five years of initial certification, or within five years from the project’s last recertification date.

Conditional requirements

To receive a certified rating, the project must:

  1. Achieve a minimum category (excluding Innovation) benchmark when seeking a 4, 5 or 6 Green Star rating respectively;
  2. Achieve a minimum total of 45 points; and
  3. Where the project is subject to approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as a controlled action, it must receive written approval under the Act.

Distinct boundary

The project must be clearly distinct. This may be a structure plan, master plan, neighbourhood plan, renewal plan or similar. This means the project must have a clear study area boundary that is subject to a ‘plan of development’. This plan and/or planning process must be managed by a government entity and/or private sector or community owned development entity.

Further requirements are set out in the certification agreement.

Green Star – Design & As Built
eligibility criteria

All buildings aiming to achieve a Green Star – Design & As Built certified rating are subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Building type

Timing of submission for certification

Conditional requirements

Distinct boundary

Other requirements

Building type

Green Star – Design & As Built is intended to rate new buildings and major refurbishments. The majority of building types are eligible to be rated including mixed use developments comprising of more than one National Construction Code (NCC) space use classification. Parking garages (NCC Class 7a and 10) are ineligible to achieve a Green Star – Design & As Built certified rating.

The Green Star – Design & As Built rating tool is also equipped to rate a group of single dwelling NCC Class 1 homes (such as a retirement village) however if you are interested in rating a single detached dwelling contact the GBCA to discuss further.

Timing of submission for certification

All projects registered for Green Star – Design & As Built must seek an As Built certified rating. Project teams also have the option of seeking a Design Review certified rating. The Design Review certified rating is not a stand alone certification, rather it is as an interim step towards the As Built certification. 

Design Review certified rating 

Submissions for a Design Review certified rating can be lodged early in the design process and as soon as the required evidence is available. This is possible to be lodged at the time of the design brief or design development period.

As Built certified rating

Submissions for an As Built certified rating can be lodged following the project reaching practical completion.

Time requirements

Certain timeframes and thresholds must be adhered to in order for a project to achieve a certified rating. The following milestones are mandatory for all projects, and if any are not met a project's certified rating will either expire or will be cancelled.

  • As Built certified rating must be achieved within 24 months of practical completion. This certified rating does not expire.
  • Design Review certified rating must be achieved prior to practical completion.
  • Design Review certified rating will expire when either of the following occurs:
    a) The project achieves an As Built certified rating; or 
    b) The project reaches 24 months post practical completion.
  • A Design Review certified rating can be cancelled at any time if there is no intent to achieve an As Built certified rating.

Conditional requirements

Green Star – Design & As Built has two conditional requirements. To achieve a certified rating the benchmarks in the following conditional requirements in these two credits must be met:

1. Greenhouse gas emissions 

  • Commercial Buildings: At least 4.5 star NABERS Energy.
  • Residential Buildings: At least 0.5 star higher than the minimum legislated requirement.
  • All other buildings: 10% improvement over a reference building.

2. Sustainable sites

  • The site must not be on land of high ecological or societal value.

For further information refer to the Submission Guidelines. A project will not be eligible for a Green Star certified rating unless both of these conditional requirements have been met.

Distinct boundary

To provide a meaningful result and send a clear message to the market, project certification must apply to an area/site that is clearly distinct. Project components are not eligible. Shared building services or amenities such as waste rooms or bicycle facilities do not affect the building’s eligibility.

Other requirements

Further requirements are set out in the certification agreement. It is the responsibility of the applicant to comply with all legal requirements in respect of their project (e.g. NCC requirements or Occupational Health & Safety requirements).

Green Star – Interiors
eligibility criteria

All buildings aiming to achieve a Green Star – Interiors rating are subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Fitout type

Timing of submission for certification

Conditional requirements

District boundary

Other requirements

Fitout type

Green Star – Interiors rates building fitouts. The majority of fitout types are eligible to be rated including mixed use developments comprising of more than one of the following National Construction Code (NCC) space use classifications: NCC Class 3, 5, 6, 8, 9a, 9b, 9c.

Timing of submission for certification

Submissions for a Green Star – Interiors certification can be lodged following practical completion of the project. The certified rating will only be awarded within 24 months of practical completion.

Conditional requirements

A project seeking certification must meet the conditional requirement criterion outlined in the 'Greenhouse Gas Emissions' credit. A project will not be eligible for a Green Star certified rating unless the benchmarks in this conditional requirement have been met.

Distinct boundary

Project certification must apply to an area/site that is clearly distinct. Project components are not eligible. Shared building services or amenities such as waste rooms or bicycle facilities do not affect the building’s eligibility. Sub-tenancies are considered part of the fitout and cannot be excluded from the rating.

Other requirements

Projects must comply with all legal requirements in respect of their project (e.g. NCC requirements or Occupational Health & Safety requirements).

Further requirements are set out in the certification agreement.

Green Star – Performance
eligibility criteria

All buildings aiming to achieve a Green Star – Performance certified rating are subject to the following eligibility criteria:

Building type

Timing of submission for certification

Conditional requirements

Distinct boundary

Minimum occupancy

Timing of performance period

Other requirements

Building type

  • All building types can be rated using Green Star – Performance, with the exception of single detached dwellings (single houses).
  • The building must be a complete, permanent structure.

Timing of submission for certification

  • Buildings that have achieved Green Star – As Built certification can submit documentation for assessment 18 months after achieving an occupancy certificate. The building must have operated under normal conditions for at least the last 12 months of that 18 month operating period.
  • All other eligible buildings can submit documentation for assessment 36 months after receiving an occupancy certificate. The building must have operated under normal conditions for at least the last 12 months of that 36 month operating period.

Conditional requirements

In order to reach a 4 Star Green Star ‘Best Practice’ level of certification or higher, a project team must demonstrate improvements upon the following credit benchmarks:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions - At least 10% improvement upon the average greenhouse gas baseline.
  • Potable Water - At least 10% improvement upon the average potable water baseline.

Distinct boundary

  • All buildings must be spatially differentiated and clearly distinct. Buildings in their entirety can be assessed.
  • Buildings should have a reasonable site boundary that includes all contiguous land associated and that supports the building’s typical operations.
  • Individual tenancies are not eligible for assessment under Green Star – Performance at this time.

Minimum occupancy

A building requires at least one full time equivalent occupying the space during the ‘Performance Period’. A 12 month performance period is the period of time for which your project team gathers and collates auditable data about the operational performance of your building and for the period for which your building is assessed.

Timing of performance period

The performance period is 12 consecutive months from which data will be drawn for Green Star – Performance certification. The beginning of the performance period can be no more than 12 months prior to registration.

Other requirements

  • All Green Star – Performance registered premises must comply with all Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety Laws.
  • All Green Star – Performance registered projects must commit to sharing their building energy and water usage data with the GBCA.

Further requirements are set out in the certification agreement.

Five simple steps to certification

1

Register

Log your project online.

2

Document

Get familiar with the documentation needed to demonstrate that your building, fitout or community meets Green Star's sustainability benchmarks with our submission guidelines.

3

Submit

Submit your documentation to the GBCA for Green Star assessment.

4

Assess

Green Star submissions are reviewed by an independent panel of sustainable development experts and an overall score is assigned.

5

Certify

A Green Star certified rating is awarded as a third-party verification of a project's sustainability.

Register your project

Need to discuss the eligibility of your project?

Green Star team

+61 2 8239 6200

As a question by submitting a request