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Restrictions on 'Design' ratings strengthen Green Star

From 1 January 2013, Green Star – Design ratings will be valid for two years after a building's practical completion, as the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) introduces time restrictions to strengthen the robustness of Australia’s environmental rating system for buildings.

Speaking at Green Cities 2012 today, the GBCA’s Executive Director – Green Star, Andrew Aitken, announced that, from 1 January 2013, a Green Star – Design rating will only be valid for 24 months after a building’s practical completion.

“Green Star is an evolving rating system, and we are committed to ensuring it continues to adapt and respond to the industry’s needs.  Extensive stakeholder research has found that one of the best ways to reinforce the value of Green Star is to place an expiry date on Green Star – Design ratings,” Mr Aitken says.

This new policy will apply to any project registered for a Design rating from 1 January 2013 – irrespective of the rating tool used. The 24-month time restriction on Design ratings will not apply to projects registered before 1 January 2013.

“Green Star ratings have been instrumental in motivating Australia's property and construction industry to design and build green. Design ratings encourage project teams to consider Green Star from the initial stages of the project development by providing best practice benchmarks for sustainable design,” Mr Aitken explains.

“The ‘Design’ rating is seen as a promise within the industry, which then provides the groundwork for a Green Star – As Built rating. The As Built rating demonstrates that this promise has been delivered in construction, which in turn provides the foundation for an ongoing assessment of the building’s performance in operation.

“Many building projects are promoted as ‘Green Star-rated buildings’ long after they have been built – despite having no certification that demonstrates the Green Star design was reflected in the construction or in the performance of the building.

“This has created some confusion in the marketplace.  By limiting the length of time that building projects can market a Green Star – Design rating, we will strengthen the robustness of the Green Star rating system, and ensure that project teams that achieve As Built and future Green Star – Performance ratings are recognised and rewarded.

The new time restrictions on Green Star – Design ratings have already received positive support from industry.

“Introducing time-bound ratings for Green Star will help to ensure that completed buildings deliver on the Green Star promises made during the design phase,” says Stockland’s General Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Siobhan Toohill.

“Once a building is constructed, our focus should be on what was actually built, not the design.  The GBCA’s new measure will support the uptake of more Green Star - As Built ratings, and ensure that green design translates into green buildings,” says Grocon’s Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Grollo.

“The industry’s leaders have been following up their Green Star – Design ratings with As Built ratings for some time, proving that they can deliver on the promise.  Our new policy is a natural step towards greater transformation of the industry,” Mr Aitken concludes.