Our success stories in 2019

A word from Davina

18 Dec 2019

Over the course of 2019, we’ve seen business accelerate its action on climate – and we thank you for your leadership. But no one company can drive reform at the necessary scale and speed. We need bold, industry-wide coalitions for change – and in the property industry the Green Building Council of Australia is our coalition for change.

Since stepping into the role of CEO in June, I’ve been honoured to work with an industry of passionate sustainability champions, and a dedicated and innovative team driving results. Together, we’ve achieved a lot – but here are our team’s picks for the 10 biggest success stories in 2019.

1. Green Star ratings on the rise

Our official tally of Green Star projects now sits at 2,551, with 336 certifications completed during 2019. A massive 40% of CBD office space and 40% of retail space is Green Star certified. We’ve measured the full impact of Green Star for the first time, so check out our inaugural Green Star annual report to learn more.

2. Industry embraces Future Focus

Green Star Future Focus continues to streamline certification, drive down documentation costs and introduce new game-changing credits.

We've issued three consultation papers this year, held dozens of stakeholder interviews, hosted more than 60 workshops and member briefings, met with expert reference panels and reviewed more than 100 written submissions.

Consultation for the new credits close on 27 February, and we have webinars running throughout January and February. We value every piece of feedback as we ready ourselves to launch Green Star for New Buildings in mid-2020.



3. Every building counts shapes national agenda

In October, we launched Every building counts: A practical plan for emissions reduction in collaboration with the Property Council of Australia. Speaking at the launch, Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, called the plan a “comprehensive articulation of many of the building policy options and technology opportunities available to both industry and government”.
Our efforts are already paying off, and it’s no coincidence that the energy efficiency work plan recently signed off by COAG energy ministers aligns with our report.


4. National Construction Code gets an update

Our sustained advocacy in collaboration with industry partners delivered the first upgrade to the National Construction Code in the commercial property sector in a decade. For the first time, the code recognises Green Star and NABERS as solutions to demonstrate compliance against energy efficiency targets. Green Star Design and As Built v1.3 were also released in direct response to the NCC’s updates.


5. Nine years topping the GRESB table

Australia’s record score of 81 raises the sustainability bar yet again in the global real estate sustainability benchmark. More than 1,000 property companies with assets valued at $6 trillion participated this year.



6. World’s biggest net zero commitment

Our nation’s support for a net zero carbon future continues to grow, as Australia boasts the largest cohort of organisations signed up to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. Nineteen of the 42 companies are GBCA members.


7. GBCA named a great place to work

In September our positive and healthy work environment got a round of applause, after 95% of our staff said the GBCA was a Great Place to Work. Our team is committed to improving Australian workplaces, and we are proud to lead by example. (Head over to our website to check out career opportunities with the GBCA in 2020.)

8. New Green Star training meet our members’ needs

We listened carefully to industry feedback while crafting our new courses before launching a new introductory day and separate advanced day to meet our members’ evolving needs. The positive feedback soon started rolling in, as we share the business case for sustainability and boost skills-based knowledge.



9. Our focus on infrastructure intensifies

Our close collaboration with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia delivered dividends in September, as we launched a guide to help industry integrate Green Star with the IS rating system. Our guide responds to growing demand for independent assurance that large-scale investment in megaprojects leaves a lasting, sustainable legacy.



10. TRANSFORM takes off

We held our inaugural TRANSFORM conference in March, bringing together more than 100 speakers and 400 delegates to thrash out the current roadblocks and chart a long-term course to net zero. We were thrilled with the industry’s feedback on the new format and have upped the ante with TRANSFORM 2020. Join us from 24-25 March in Sydney and expect some big announcements. Tickets are selling fast.



On behalf of the GBCA team, our new chair Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz and our dedicated board, thank you for your hard work in 2019 as part of our coalition for change. When we work together we can move mountains.

Have a safe and happy holiday – and rest up! With an ambitious agenda ahead, we need all your expertise and enthusiasm in 2020.