Leading a new benchmark for building sustainability

17 Dec 2019

New standards to drive the next wave of sustainability in buildings have been unveiled today for public consultation as part of an evolution of the world-leading Green Star rating system.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) today released draft credits against its latest rating tool, Green Star for New Buildings, establishing detailed requirements to redefine sustainability for new buildings and major refurbishments.

GBCA Head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa said the changes to the rating tools represent a step-change.

“We’ve strengthened existing certification requirements, established new benchmarks for carbon emissions, and a created a broader, more ambitious and holistic approach to sustainability in buildings.”

“The product of an exhaustive consultation process, the proposed credits reflect industry demand for Green Star to continue to drive innovation and leadership across the supply chain while also responding to the increasing momentum created by global and market drivers for change,” Mr Chapa said.  

From climate change resilience, to health and well-being, from diversity and inclusion to nature and biodiversity, Green Star for New Buildings builds on nearly two decades of world leadership across Australia to reset sustainability for buildings in the 21st Century.

Observing the critical role of Green Star in helping to deliver a low emissions future, Mr Chapa said the approach we are proposing translates our long-term commitment to net zero buildings into action.

With the application of Green Star for New Buildings, any building awarded a 6 Star Green Star rating will have zero operational carbon emissions. 5 Star Green Star buildings will be net zero ready, and 4 Star Green Star buildings will provide a new entry point for sustainable buildings, demanding 10 per cent less upfront and operational emissions than current National Construction Code 2019 requirements.

“We say it often, Green Star is built by industry and for industry,” Mr Chapa said.

“The ambition of these draft credits is a reflection of the ambition sought by all our members across industry and government, and throughout the broader supply chain from finance through to product manufacturers and professional services.”

“Today we are introducing eight categories to more accessibly define a building’s sustainability.”

“These categories will deliver healthy, resilient and positive places for people and nature, built responsibly by leaders. This vision in fact defines our categories. This is what we have heard we all want from all our buildings – whether through the use of materials, or in construction and operation.”

Within these categories there are a number of draft credits that all buildings seeking a Green Star rating are expected to comply with: these are proposed as new Minimum Expectations for every Green Star rated building.

Mr Chapa said with today’s announcement, the GBCA is establishing clearer minimum expectations for what should constitute a sustainable building for the next generation.
“We are also making it easier to deliver a Green Star building through simpler documentation, certification and increasing digitalisation,” Mr Chapa said.
“The GBCA thanks our members, across industry and government, for their incredible support in the delivery of this next iteration of Green Star. With over a year of consultation, over 100 written submissions, and countless workshops and reviews, we are thrilled with the collaboration that continues to drive sustainability through Green Star. Our feedback report released in November confirmed that we are on the right track. Now we want stakeholders to share their views on these draft credits, and their implementation.”

These changes are significant, both through the detail of the draft credits and the certification process, and we recognise the different interests of our members and stakeholders. To help you navigate the changes, you can download factsheets that explain the key features for architects, builders, engineers, governments, building occupants and product manufacturers.

Feedback is invited until the end of February 2020, visit https://new.gbca.org.au/green-star/future-focus/New-Buildings/ for more information, to register for a webinar, and to submit your response.

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