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Delivering the next generation of Green Star rating tools

Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer
Green Building Council of Australia

The evidence is all there in black and white: Green Star-rated buildings emit around a third of the greenhouse gas emissions and use a third of the electricity when compared with the average Australian building.

Green Star-rated buildings also use half the water of buildings that simply meet minimum industry requirements.

Our new report, The Value of Green Star: A decade of environmental benefits, analyses the data from 428 Green Star-certified projects occupying 5,746,000 million square metres across Australia and compares it to the ‘average’ Australian building and minimum practice benchmarks. 

This is the first time we have been in a position to quantify the overall impact of Green Star on greenhouse gas emissions, operational energy and water consumption, and construction and demolition waste.

The findings have exceeded our most optimistic expectations. When compared with average Australian buildings, Green Star-certified buildings:

  • Produce 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Use 66% less electricity
  • Use 51% less potable water
  • Send 54% less waste to landfill.

This report confirms what we’ve been saying for a decade – Green Star buildings are slashing greenhouse gas emissions, making significant savings on energy and water consumption and costs, and preventing truckloads of waste going to landfill. 

The many other benefits of Green Star buildings are just as clear. Green Star buildings are better long-term assets that deliver significant cost savings. Green Star buildings are more attractive to tenants, who increasingly understand the benefits of more productive, healthy buildings, and Green Star buildings are boosting student performance, reducing teacher sick leave, decreasing average length of stay and infection rates in hospitals and even improving sales at the till.

While we can be proud of Green Star’s achievements, we know we can’t afford to be complacent. That’s why, based on industry feedback, we have developed a comprehensive and ambitious program of works as part of the continuous evolution of Green Star, called Green Star 2014. This aims to make Green Star more accessible and user-friendly, and better value for money.

We’re taking Green Star online to reduce the amount of time and money spent on compiling and submitting documentation.  We’re trialling new certification processes, reducing the number of Green Star credits and streamlining Green Star into four rating tools – Design & As Built, Interiors, Performance and Communities – to make certification simple and straightforward. 

This program of works will be undertaken between now and the end of 2014 and will support our five year strategic plan. The GBCA’s Board of Directors remains steadfast in its commitment to whole-of-market transformation. To do this, we must continue to grow Green Star’s reach, drive the uptake of new rating tools such as Green Star - Performance, engage with governments, and continue working with industry to evolve Green Star – and our built environment with it. We will continue our research into the real costs and values associated with Green Star, with the next stages of our investigation into the outcomes from certified projects already underway.

The need for a common language for sustainability in the built environment is as vital now as it was in 2003. Green Star is that common language – and we want you to join the conversation.