New Green Building Rating Tool Launches

By Peter Sarmas on 15 Nov 2013
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The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has come up with a comprehensive rating tool that promises to improve the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of existing buildings. 

Launched in October, the Green Star – Performance rating tool took two years to develop. It is a system that looks at the operational performance of buildings so that owners, managers and users can identify opportunities for improvement. 

Speaking at its launch last month, GBCA’s Chief Executive Romily Madew expects Green Star – Performance to be a “game changer” for Australia’s property and facility management industries.

The Need to Green our Brown Buildings

Commercial and residential buildings alone contribute 23 per cent to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia has 21 million square metres of existing office stock, 81 per cent of which is over ten years old. There are countless other buildings that need greening.

“Commercial and residential buildings alone contribute 23 per cent to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Most of Australia’s buildings were built at a time when little thought was given to issues such as energy efficiency, water use or indoor environment quality,” Madew said. “Green Star – Performance will enable us to transform these ‘brown’ buildings into the green buildings we need, and reduce their operating costs.”

Measuring Buildings Against Green Star – Performance Categories

The tool works by measuring operations against nine building sustainability categories

These include: management, indoor environment quality, energy efficiency, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovation.

The assessment is carried out by an independent third party, upon which a Green Star certification rating ranging from one to six is given. One star represents ‘Minimum Practice’ whilst six stars represent ‘World Leadership’.

Green Star certifications are valid for a period of three years, but there are interim reporting requirements at the end of the second and third year.  Recertification is possible the end of the three year period.      

This rating system can be used for all buildings – schools, hospitals, hotels and retail centres are just some examples.  However, it cannot be used for single detached homes.

Benefits of Sustainability Credentials for Existing Buildings

According to Daniel Grollo of GCBA, the vast majority of Australia’s buildings are underperforming for owners and users, for businesses and the environment.

“The vast majority of Australia’s buildings are underperforming for owners and users, for businesses and the environment.”

“From today, existing building owners can put themselves on equal footing with the owners of new buildings by achieving a Green Star rating and the benefits that it brings, including faster attraction of tenants and buyers, increased employee productivity and engagement, and improved asset value,” Mr Grollo explained.

Other benefits involved with sustainability credentials include reduced overheads, the ability to attract and retain better staff and the opportunity to demonstrate green leadership.

The Green Star – Performance rating tool holds a lot of promise and it will be interesting to see how widely it is used by the owners and managers of existing buildings.

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About the Author

Peter Sarmas is a Certified Property Investment Advisor (PIAA) and Vendor/Buyer Advocate. Before becoming the founder of Street News, Peter completed a Degree in Applied Science (Chemistry) and a Graduate Diploma in Property Valuations (Hons). Peter believes property investing is a major and potentially risky undertaking. In his view, everyone should have an independent person acting on their behalf when seeking property investment advice.

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