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Revised credits herald the next generation of Green Star

Two revised credits have been integrated into all Green Star tools, heralding a new chapter in the history of Australia's national, holistic rating system for buildings.

According to the Green Building Council of Australia's (GBCA's) Director of Green Star, Andrew Aitken, the revised credits "represent a first step in developing the next generation of Green Star tools. These revised credits are just the first of many that will be incorporated into each Green Star tool - eventually resulting in a single, easy-to-use online rating tool that can assess all building types, regardless of their space use."

Green Star undergoes regular refinements based on feedback from industry and learning outcomes from each assessment. After significant research and industry consultation, the GBCA developed two revised credits which assess stormwater (Emi-5) and commuting mass transport (Tra-4).

The two revised credits were released in May as part of the Green Star - Industrial v1 rating tool. Feedback from industry was sought, which indicated that these credits should be integrated into all other Green Star tools.

"By including the revised credits in all existing Green Star tools, we are not only improving the tools, but moving towards a common approach to rating all building types," Mr Aitken says.

The 'Stormwater' credit, which replaces the 'Watercourse Pollution' credit, will reward projects that use the most innovative products and scientifically-advanced processes available.

"Green Star now encourages the application of approaches currently used at the forefront of the stormwater management industry, notably those of Water Sensitive Urban Design," Mr Aitken says.

"These approaches manage stormwater not simply as a waste product, but also as a resource. The credit recognises the environmental benefits of either treating stormwater pollutant loads prior to discharge, or for using the stormwater on site, or a combination of both.

"The revised credit recognises the role that buildings play in being producers, rather than just consumers, of resources," Mr Aitken says.

Another example of Green Star's evolution is the revised Commuting Mass Transport credit, which in its new format will require less supporting documentation and support a consistent assessment approach to mass transport systems.

"New benchmarks in the revised transport calculator are based on population density at the building location, which means that Green Star can better address the varying transport needs of urban and regional centres," Mr Aitken explains, adding that a simplified method of collecting timetable documentation has also been developed.

The revised credits will be supported with templates and sample submissions to help project teams meet best practice benchmarks and prepare for Green Star assessment.

Current projects registered to achieve Green Star ratings can use either the old or revised credits. Any project registered after 1 January 2011 will be required to use the revised credits.

"The Green Building Council of Australia is committed to ensuring Green Star's long term relevance to industry. This means supporting Green Star's evolution to a single rating tool that sets the standards for the development of not only new buildings, but existing buildings too, and not just for single structures or fitouts, but for entire communities," Mr Aitken concludes.

About the Emi-5 - 'Stormwater' credit
This credit replaces the 'Watercourse Pollution' credit. The revised credit features new benchmarks and reduced documentation requirements. In addition, the 'Stormwater' credit encourages the application of approaches currently used at the forefront of the stormwater management industry, notably those of Water Sensitive Urban Design. These approaches manage stormwater not simply as a waste product, but also as a resource. The credit recognises the environmental benefits of either treating stormwater pollutant loads prior to discharge, or for using the stormwater on site, or a combination of both.

About the Tra-4 - 'Commuting Mass Transport'
The Commuting Mass Transport Calculator determines the number of Green Star points achieved in the Tra-4 Commuting Mass Transport credit. Points are awarded based on the number and frequency of transport routes, as well as the distance from the building to the station or stop. New benchmarks in the revised calculator are based on population density at the location of the building. A simplified method of collecting timetable documentation has also been developed. In addition, the revised transport calculator will ensure that frequency of transport services are assessed for the same peak periods in all Green Star tools.