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Green Building Council of Australia: 2010 in review

Despite a global economic downturn, a lacklustre construction market around the world and domestic political dramas, the green building industry took a number of long strides forward this year.

We can be very proud of the Council's efforts this year, which have ensured that Australia's green building sector not only survives, but thrives.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting recently, Chair Tony Arnel paid particular tribute to the member companies of the Green Building Council of Australia.

"In 2010, we continued to attract new members and retained the majority of our existing membership base - an extremely positive result in a challenging market.

"Many of our members have made significant contributions to the GBCA over the course of 2010, dedicating their expertise and time to committees, working groups, campaigns and projects. We continue to attract committed sponsors, without whom we would not be able to host our wide range of events and activities, nor develop new Green Star tools.

"In 2010, the Green Building Council of Australia delivered outstanding value to our member companies and furthered our mission to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia.

"Our perspiration and perseverance have paid off and we are well-positioned to take on the challenges of 2011, all the while making a real difference to our members, our industry, our nation and our planet," Mr Arnel said.

Highlights of 2010

Certifications climb
From a zero base in 2003, we currently have 283 Green Star certified projects around Australia. A further 491 projects are currently registered and 95 are being processed - taking the number of projects aspiring to Green Star ratings to well above 800 . We achieved our 250th Green Star certification, Pixel in Melbourne, in July.

Green Star tool releases
We released three more tools: Green Star - Industrial v1, Green Star - Public Building PILOT and a custom rating process which will be able to rate buildings outside the scope of other Green Star tools.

Green Star Communities
Green Star Communities continues to build momentum as a project of national significance. We released the National Framework for Sustainable Communities, and now have a range of industry and government sponsors, including every government land organisation in the country.

Education and events
The GBCA delivered more than 180 educational seminars, workshops and master classes around Australia, as well as more than 70 events, to support 'green collar' growth, and has now trained more than 18,500 people.

Green Cities
In partnership with the Property Council of Australia, we staged the most influential green building event in the Asia Pacific region - Green Cities. Green Cities has been very effective in establishing a solid business case for sustainable building - and the conversation has moved beyond individual buildings to how we can shape our precincts, our communities and our cities.

Continuing Professional Development
The CPD program was launched in July and is now supporting the skills development of more than 4,000 people across the industry.

The GBCA maintained a strong voice during the federal election campaign, launching its five policy priorities to drive discussion, and gaining a number of policy commitments from the Gillard Government, including the 'Tax Breaks for Green Buildings' scheme.

Industry engagement
We appointed two new industry engagement representatives to work closely with members and accelerate green building around the country.

We signed an agreement with NABERS to work together on the delivery of a more consistent and compatible approach to building rating.

Green schools
The advocacy team worked closely with both state and federal politicians to ensure the Australian Government's stimulus spending on schools delivered a green education revolution. Almost 100 schools are now certified or registered for Green Star, and a Green Schools policy paper has been released. Many state governments are now mandating Green Star for all new school developments, with others referencing Green Star in determining their standards.

Local government
We established the Local Government Task Group to bring together cities and councils and encourage an ongoing dialogue.

The GBCA continued to expand its role as an active member of the World Green Building Council, and in particular within the Asia Pacific region. We were also an active participant of international World Green Building Week.

The voice of the industry
The GBCA website was visited by more than 40,000 people each month; Green Star tools were downloaded more than 30,000 times in the last year. Our newsletter has more than 16,000 subscribers.