Another great chapter in the Green Star story for 2016

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has crunched the numbers, and has applauded several of its ‘green leaders’ in 2016.

The GBCA certified 401 Green Star projects in 2016, compared with 223 in 2015 – an 80 per cent increase in certifications.

Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer of the GBCA, says the acceleration in certifications is in part due to the rapid uptake of the Green Star – Performance rating tool, which assesses the operational performance of existing buildings.

“The industry’s leaders all understand that achieving Green Star ratings for their portfolios demonstrates transparency and accountability to shareholders. For the investment community, sustainability is now inextricably linked with risk management, reputation and reward – and we are seeing an increase in Green Star ratings accordingly,” Ms Madew says.

Certification leadership

Vicinity Centres rated a whopping 93 Green Star projects in 2016.  Ms Madew says the company has made “a large-scale commitment to sustainability” by rating its entire portfolio with the Green Star – Performance rating tool. 

“The leaders at Vicinity Centres now have a clear benchmark as they embark on an upgrade program, and have demonstrated to shareholders and customers that they are serious about sustainability,” Ms Madew says.

Melissa Schulz, General Manager Sustainability at Vicinity Centres says “the Green Star – Performance rating tool was really helpful in benchmarking individual centre performance following the consolidation of our asset portfolio. It highlighted existing areas of best practice, which we are now rolling out across the broader portfolio to drive performance improvements. The GBCA’s broad consideration of sustainability within the Green Star rating tools is also appealing, and aligns nicely with Vicinity’s own Sustainability agenda.”

“Portfolio certification has really reshaped the way companies think about sustainability this year,” Ms Madew adds.

“Alongside Vicinity Centres' outstanding commitment, DEXUS Property Group certified 79 projects, SCA Property Group certified 56, Mirvac 41 and Frasers Property Australia 14. This collective achievement is worthy of a standing ovation,” Ms Madew adds.

Lendlease achieved the greatest number of Green Star certifications across all other rating tools, as the owner/developer of 10 projects and the project leader for an additional 10. During 2016 Lendlease led 25 Green Star projects to certification, and Ms Madew says the company’s leadership in sustainability is acknowledged the world over. 

“In 2016, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, which surveyed 759 real estate companies and funds representing more than 66,000 assets and $3.7 trillion in gross asset value, ranked Lendlease third in the world,” she says.

Communities leadership

Stockland certified six master-planned communities in 2016, the greatest number of any company. Ms Madew says “Stockland is leading the charge” in its commitment to sustainable communities. 

“Tens of thousands of Australian families will live in Stockland communities that were designed to be environmentally sustainable, and to be liveable, prosperous and resilient places.”

Mark Steinert, Managing Director and CEO at Stockland, says: “I am immensely proud of our many achievements and the global recognition we have received for our leadership in sustainability. To strengthen trust in the broader community, we need to be accountable to customers and the community, as well as shareholders. Our business is about community creation, so we are very focused on ensuring the long-term liveability of our properties and communities.”

Consultancy leadership

Arup Australasia worked on more Green Star certifications than any other consultancy in 2016, with a total of 11 for the year.

“Arup has worked on an impressive 82 Green Star projects, and the highly-experienced team has influenced the design and delivery of some of Australia’s most iconic green building projects. Arup's legacy this year includes state-of-the-art education facilities at the University of Melbourne, the restoration of Sydney landmark Shell House and community-scale projects around the country,” Ms Madew says.

“We have been privileged to work closely with the GBCA and Green Star to help influence sustainable building design in Australia over the last 13 years. We've helped to deliver a number of Green Star 'firsts' and we will continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in sustainable design," says Tim Elgood, Sydney Sustainable Buildings Leader for Arup.

WSP l Parsons Brinckerhoff was also an active green leader in 2016, working on 14 newly-registered Green Star buildings. 

"The breadth of WSP l Parson Brinckerhoff's work this year demonstrates Green Star's influence – from industrial buildings for Frasers Property Australia to the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and from Shellharbour Civic Centre to NAB's office fitout in Brisbane,” Ms Madew says.

“With over 118 certified Green Star rated projects, WSP l Parsons Brinckerhoff is proud of our long history with the GBCA and the Green Star rating tools,” says Director of Sustainability Brenda Kingston.

“The diversity in building types represented in our Green Star registrations very much reflects the increased diversity of our project work. We are particularly excited by the increased focus on urban renewal and the benchmarking and improvement of existing portfolio performance.” 

The state by state story

With 155 Green Star projects certified in 2016, New South Wales achieved the most certifications. This was followed by Victoria (97), Queensland (57), West Australia (44), South Australia (20), ACT (16), and Tasmania (12). 

But Ms Madew says the statistics don’t tell the full story.

“Aside from the large number of Green Star projects delivered by the industry across New South Wales, the Baird Government has joined the ACT, Victoria and South Australia with a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. NSW has backed this commitment with $500 million over five years to drive policy reform that delivers advanced energy technologies, energy efficiency and helps us prepare for a changing climate.

“In West Australia, for example, we are seeing a broad range of project types achieve ratings – from retail to distribution centres, and from communities to apartments. Strong local government leadership is also emerging, with the cities of Gosnells and Joondalup driving the uptake of Green Star in their communities.

“In South Australia, the Weatherill Government’s 5 Star Green Star mandate at Bowden is bearing fruit, and the community now has the highest concentration of Green Star-rated residential buildings in the country. The work at Bowden is driving innovation in sustainable thinking and upskilling the entire local industry.

“In Victoria, the Andrews Government has made a commitment to certify the Fishermans Bend community, which will one day be home to 80,000 people.

“The work of the University of Tasmania in the Apple Isle also deserves applause – with a commitment to Green Star delivering sustainable learning spaces, laboratories and student digs.

“In Queensland, the infrastructure investment for the 2018 Commonwealth Games is driving a green revolution. A stand-out was the Gold Coast’s first 4 Star Green Star – Interiors rating for the GOLDOC headquarters.

“And the ACT achieved its first 6 Star Green Star – Communities rating at Ginninderry, a project that cuts across state borders and will deliver homes for 30,000 people by 2055.

“More than 636,000 Australians now work in Green Star-rated offices – that’s five per cent of our total workforce. A further 13,300 people live in Green Star-rated apartments. More than 130,000 people are moving into Green Star-rated communities, and 1.2 million people visit a Green Star-rated shopping centre each day,” Ms Madew says.

“Australia’s property sector continues to show the world how to build healthy, resilient and positive places for people and the natural environment.”