World-first ‘game changer’ Green Home certification released to industry

30 Aug 2021

A Green Star certification that’s set to transform the residential home building market and reduce household energy costs by 75%, is being released by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The GBCA is calling on the volume home building industry to adopt the Green Star Homes Standard certification system now, ahead of a planned consumer release in 2022.

“The Green Star Homes Standard is a game-changer that will bring more liveable, marketable, climate positive new homes within reach of everyday Australians,” said Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia.

“We know the energy rating of our fridge, but not of our biggest asset – our home. This certification is designed to change that.”

The GBCA Green Star certification is the world’s first mass market residential climate positive certification.  To be certified under the Standard, homes will have to meet criteria that make them: 

  • Healthy: ventilated, insulated, with minimal toxins in carpets or paint. 
  • Resilient: water efficient and climate change ready. 
  • Climate positive: fully electric, draught sealed, energy efficient, and powered by renewables. 

“The residential sector accounts for 57% of Australia’s building emissions. We spend 90% of our time indoors with two thirds of this being at home.” 

“COVID lockdowns have forced many Australians to confront the reality that in many cases their home is uncomfortable, and costly to run.”

“Green Star certified homes will reduce a household’s energy costs by over 75%, through things like solar panels, better insulation, smarter air conditioning, LED lights and electric appliances, ” said Ms Rooney. 

Research by the CSIRO under the auspices of the CRC for Low Carbon Living, shows that two thirds of home buyers, when given a choice, prefer energy efficient homes.

“The recent IPCC Report is a code red.  We need highly efficient buildings powered by renewables to drive critical emissions reductions,” Ms Rooney said.

“With 11 industry stakeholders including Stockland and Metricon already agreeing to adopt the Standard, we’re focused on bringing scale to this marketplace because that’s where costs will fall,” Ms Rooney said. 

Andrew Whitson, Group Executive and CEO Communities, Stockland, said “It’s incredibly important for us to lead in the homes space and that’s why we’re excited about delivering our first Green Star Home at Stockland Waterlea.”

“There’s never been a more important time to be launching this. We’ve seen customer preferences change and accelerate. People are going to work more from home now, so is the home set up to do that? Is it a low energy environment? Is it resilient and healthy? These things will go from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.”

David McKibbin, National Product Development Manager at Metricon Homes, said “Metricon is committed to making sustainable design accessible to more Australians. The Green Star Homes standard will allow us to continue to evolve our offer for the consumer – making the benefits of a sustainably designed new home within reach for many more Australians.”

The Green Star certification has also been welcomed by insurers.

Andrew Hall, CEO and Executive Director of the Insurance Council of Australia said, “The Green Star Homes Standard sets a new benchmark for homes that are resilient to natural disasters; homes built to this new standard will help pave the way to ensuring a more insurable Australia.”

“The additional design and build costs for a Green Star certified home are within an affordable range.  Most efficiency savings have a 5-7 year payback for the homeowner, including solar power,” Ms Rooney explained.

Because it allows for flexible climactic variations, the rating can be applied by builders throughout Australia, from Darwin to Hobart.    

The GBCA are working with government to bring the Green Star Homes Standard into the regulatory framework. 

The National Construction Code currently requires 6 stars NatHERS rating, which describes the level of insulation in the home.  The Code hasn’t been updated in a decade, and changes are due to be implemented in 2022.  The Green Star certification will be equivalent to 7 or 7.5 stars, depending on the climate.