What are they?
Green Star if the Green Building Council of Australia’s environmental rating system. It is a design based system that provides accreditation to buildings that have maintained strict environmental standards in the design and through the construction of the building.
The assessment covers new buildings, refurbished buildings and fit-outs for a range of building types against set criteria and best practice. The Green Star assessment covers nine categories: management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use & ecology and emissions. An overall environmental rating is then provided.
Once an assessment is complete, the Green Building Council issues a certificate identifying the awarded Green Star rating. Current Green Star ratings are 4 stars, 5 stars “Australian Best Practice” and 6 stars “World Best Practice”.
Why are they useful?
A Green Star rating provides evidence of the sustainability profile of a building. This can be useful for marketing purposes and some tenants will have a minimum Green Star requirement for new space.
In recent times, 6 stars has become the benchmark for a building to be seen to an environmental leader. This rating is challenging and can be expensive to achieve unless care is taken to integrate environmental performance at every step, rather than bolt it on as an afterthought to an otherwise traditional design.
Issues to be aware of
A high Green Star rating does not necessarily mean a building is operated efficiently; it just means that it has a range of environmental / sustainability features and has the potential to be run efficiently. A Green Star performance rating is in development but is not available at the ime of writing which should provide greater insight into operational factors; NABERS can provide clear insights into the operational efficiency for energy and water for office and shopping centres, and waste and indoor environment for offices.
Applicable building types
A wide range of buildings can be assessed under Green Star, including offices (base building and fit-out, separately), shopping centres, hotels, education and……*****
Questions to ask
- Does the building have a Green Star rating and if so, when does it date from?
- What steps have been undertaken to continue the intent of the Green Star rating into day-to-day management
- Are specific Green Star ratings required by the tenant or the owner with respect to the building or the fit-out?
GBCA – www.gbca.org