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

  • Green Star Buildings: For new buildings or major refurbishments 
  • Green Star - Design & As Built: For new buildings or major refurbishments (This tool is superseded by Green Star Buildings but still open for registration until 17 December, 2021)
  • Green Star - Communities: For communities, precincts, and neighbourhoods
  • Green Star - Interiors: For new fitouts 
  • Green Star - Performance: For building operations 

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

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. We reserve 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.

Please note: The eligibility criteria on this web page should be viewed as the most current eligibility requirements for all tools. If at registration these differ from the submission guidelines, the criteria below should be used.

Green Star Buildings eligibility criteria (as at 29/10/20)

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

Building type

Green Star Buildings rates most building types that are new buildings or major refurbishments. In principle: 

  • Most building types are eligible to be rated, included mixed use developments. All National Construction Code (NCC) space uses definitions are eligible for certification, apart from single dwellings (class 1) and standalone carparks (NCC Class 7a) and uninhabited structures (Class 10). 
  • New buildings are those where most structural and facade components of a building are new. Buildings that are reusing portions of previous or existing buildings can be considered new, where a significant proportion of the space did not previously exist.  
  • A major refurbishment is where a building, or portion of a building, is vacated and withdrawn from stock for the purpose of replacing plant and services. In these cases, most of the façade or structure is retained, though some works on those are acceptable.  
  • Existing buildings where minor refurbishments are made but no services, façade, or structure are modified or introduced are eligible for certification under the Green Star Performance rating tool.   

Distinct boundary 

To provide a meaningful result and send a clear message to the market, Green Star Buildings rates the whole building, regardless of the types of uses within it. Only distinct projects are eligible for assessment; project components are not eligible. 

Green Star Certification typically covers a single building. If applicants wish to have more than one building covered in the single certification, approval must be granted from GBCA through an eligibility request.

Shared building services (such as Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning plant or water treatment) or amenities (such as waste rooms or bicycle facilities) do not affect the building's eligibility for Green Star assessment.  

Generally speaking, Green Star Certification must apply to the whole structure (as viewed above ground). 

Where towers are joined by an above ground podium, it is all considered as a single structure, and should be covered in one certification. Where buildings share a common basement below ground, they are considered two structures and will need their own ratings (unless an approach is agreed upon by the GBCA through an eligibility request before registration).

There are situations where buildings do have a distinct boundary even if they share a space with another building. Buildings that have a combination of separate entrances, distinct titles, and addresses can be rated if they can be easily distinguished from another part of a building (for example, a new office tower that is built on air rights on top of a shopping centre).   Project teams are encouraged to contact the GBCA prior to registration for more information in these situations. 

Green Star Buildings delivers a rating that reflects the building as delivered by the building owner or developer.   Where the building is tenanted, Green Star Buildings expects the building owner/developer rather than the tenant to deliver solutions within the lettable area of the building that meets the Green Star credit criteria. Awarding credits for a base building cannot depend wholly on a tenant to be responsible for delivering outcomes. In other words, if the tenant is introducing changes to the building after the building has been finished, these changes cannot affect the building’s rating.  

Timing of Registration and Certification 

Projects can register for certification at any time prior to practical completion. Projects can register after practical completion, though applicants should note the deadline below.  
All projects registered for Green Star Buildings must achieve a Certified rating within two years from practical completion of the project. The Certified rating is awarded after practical completion. Registered projects have the option of undergoing a Designed assessment as an interim step towards certification. The Designed assessment has to be done prior to practical completion. 

Minimum Expectations 

A project seeking certification must meet the Minimum Expectations set out in the Green Star Buildings rating tool. The Minimum Expectations are an expanded list of credits that must be met for the building to be certified. 

Star rating requirement 

The project must achieve at least the minimum number of points required for a 4 Star rating. 

Green Star – Design & As Built eligibility criteria (as at 29/10/20)

This tool is superseded by Green Star Buildings but still open for registration until 17 December, 2021.

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

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.

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, Green Star Design & As Built rates the whole building, regardless of the types of uses within it. Only distinct projects are eligible for assessment; project components are not eligible. 

Green Star Certification typically covers a single building. If applicants wish to have more than one building covered in the single certification, approval must be granted from the GBCA through an eligibility request.

Shared building services (such as Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning plant or water treatment) or amenities (such as waste rooms or bicycle facilities) do not affect the building's eligibility for Green Star assessment.  

Generally speaking, Green Star Certification must apply to the whole structure (as viewed above ground). 

Where towers are joined by an above ground podium, it is all considered as a single structure, and should be covered in one certification. Where buildings share a common basement below ground, they are considered two structures and will need their own ratings (unless an approach is agreed upon by the GBCA through an eligibility request before registration).

There are situations where buildings do have a distinct boundary even if they share a space with another building. Buildings that have a combination of separate entrances, distinct titles, and addresses can be rated if they can be easily distinguished from another part of a building (for example, a new office tower that is built on air rights on top of a shopping centre).   Project teams are encouraged to contact the GBCA prior to registration for more information in these situations. 

Green Star – Design & As Built delivers a rating that reflects the building as delivered by the building owner or developer.   Where the building is tenanted, Green Star – Design & As Built expects the building owner/developer rather than the tenant to deliver solutions within the lettable area of the building that meets the Green Star credit criteria. Awarding credits for a base building cannot depend wholly on a tenant to be responsible for delivering outcomes. In other words, if the tenant is introducing changes to the building after the building has been finished, these changes cannot affect the building’s rating.  

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 – 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

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. 

For Green Star – Communities in New Zealand

Please note the above eligibility criteria apply, however GBCA and New Zealand Green Building Council have developed additional guidance for projects based in New Zealand, regarding Credit 28 (Sustainable Sites), and clarification of Prime Agricultural Land.

Green Star – Interiors eligibility criteria

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

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

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 us.
Further requirements are set out in the certification agreement.