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Green Star Revolution
  1. Home
  2. Easy-to-use
  3. Efficient
  4. Cost-effective
  5. Consistent
  6. Transparent
  7. Rigorous
  8. Innovative


You told us Green Star needed to be simpler, faster, more consistent and more cost-effective.

You had great ideas.

We listened.

Now we are delivering a ground-breaking plan to make Green Star better than ever before.

Green Star Revolution will:

  • Simplify and streamline Green Star certification
  • Ensure greater consistency, transparency and rigour
  • Deliver the next generation of Green Star rating tools.

Our seven clear goals will help us to build a revolutionary rating system that is:

  1. Easy-to-use
  2. Efficient
  3. Cost-effective
  4. Consistent
  5. Transparent
  6. Rigorous
  7. Innovative

Join us on the road to Green Star Revolution. You talked. We listened.

Join the Green Star Revolution

Green Star Revolution will make achieving a Green Star rating faster, simpler and more affordable than ever before.

How can your company help us build the Green Star Revolution? Members of the GBCA can:

  • Sign up for our Green Star Update e-newsletter.
  • Sponsor one of our revolutionary projects and demonstrate your company's green leadership.
  • Take part in a technical working group to have your say on the Green Star Revolution.

To find out more about how you can get involved, contact the Green Star team or download the Revolution brochure.

Not a GBCA member? Join more than 920 organisations around Australia that are working together to transform Australia's property and construction industry. Become a member today.

1. Easy-to-use

Making certification simpler and easier

Spend less time and money on submissions
as we reduce documentation requirements and streamline credits
We are developing 'deemed to satisfy' criteria for a number of Green Star credits that currently require large amounts of documentation. This means less time and money spent on the certification process - regardless of your project’s size. ‘Deemed to satisfy’ credit criteria are included in the Green Star – Communities PILOT and Green Star – Interiors PILOT rating tools, and are also being tested on Green Star – Custom projects.

As part of our ongoing credit development and review process, Green Star credits are being simplified to reflect improvements in design and construction practices, and to reduce the amount of documentation required for submissions. The new Green Star – Interiors PILOT rating tool, for instance, contains a third fewer credits than its predecessor, Green Star – Office Interiors v1.1. Despite the inclusion of fewer credits, the number of impacts addressed has been expanded. The simplification of credits and documentation requirements is ongoing and will be incorporated into all new rating tools.

Standard templates and examples of successful submissions are being developed to guide your project team through the certification process. These templates and examples provide clear guidance on format and content requirements, making the compilation of submissions quicker and easier. The templates also give Green Star Certified Assessors easy access to standardised information, which is improving consistency of Green Star assessments. Standard templates have been released for ‘Innovation’ credits and new Area Definition Ruling. A number of additional templates are currently under development and will be published in the coming months. Examples of stand-out submissions are also available to assist project teams develop high-quality Green Star documentation. We will continue to publish exemplary submissions as they become available.

Access a comprehensive, consistent online Green Star rating tool for all building types
We are developing an online rating tool platform that will enable projects to achieve Green Star ratings for all building types, regardless of the mix of spaces within. Currently, at least 80 per cent of a building must be of a certain space type (such as retail, office or residential) to be eligible to use a particular Green Star rating tool. A single Green Star rating tool will provide an integrated approach, enabling each space type to be rated using the one rating tool. New rating tools, such as the Green Star - Interiors PILOT and Green Star - Performance are designed to rate the multiple space types within the same rating tool. The Green Star - Custom tool development service is forming the basis of the single Green Star rating tool.


2. Efficient

Delivering more efficient processes

Achieve fast, cost-effective certification
with anytime, anywhere online access to your submissions
Moving the Green Star submission process online will provide a faster, simpler way for project teams to submit Green Star documentation. Project teams will be able review their submissions online, update information in real-time and check the status of their assessments. We are currently completing due diligence on the procurement and development of an online content management system to support online submissions, and aim to introduce the Green Star online platform in 2013.

Increase the certainty of your credit claims with a free Area Definition Ruling at the start of your project
Project teams often require a Credit Interpretation Request (CIR) to define how different space types within their project are to be addressed by Green Star credits. While this is not mandatory, it provides project teams with more certainty when determining which spaces are relevant to each credit.  In 2011, we made the certification process more efficient by introducing one free Area Definition Ruling for each Green Star project. Read more about the process and how to submit.

Make the important decisions earlier with technical advice from trained professionals
In just under a decade, we have trained more than 40,000 people in the use of Green Star rating tools.  A comprehensive list of all GBCA members companies and their staff with Green Star experience is available in an online directory, which connects applicants with experienced Green Star practitioners.


3. Cost-effective

Reducing the costs of certification

Decrease costs and increase the certainty of ‘Innovation’ credit claims
Before June 2011, ‘Innovation’ credits were only assessed during the Round 2 Assessment phase. Project teams told us that this created uncertainty as to whether they would achieve the Innovation points. By moving the assessment of Innovation credits to Round 1, project teams now have more time to provide additional information to substantiate their Innovation claims. This move also reduces the costs associated with these claims, as project teams no longer need to include ‘buffer’ credits in case they aren't awarded ‘Innovation’ points.

Eliminate expensive buffer credits through Credit-by-Credit Assessment
We have modified the Green Star certification process to support pre-assessment of critical credits prior to Round 1 or Round 2 assessments. This process, known as Credit-by-Credit Assessment, can reduce the risk associated with Green Star certification when project teams are uncertain about the outcome of credit claims in the regular rounds of assessment. Credit-by-Credit Assessment aims to reduce project teams' need for expensive ‘buffer’ credits. Credit-by-credit Assessment also enables us to allocate the assessment of some credits to specialists in each field, which in turn can improve assessment consistency. Read more about the Credit-by-Credit assessment process.


4. Consistent

Improving the reliability and consistency of Green Star

Better understand how your Green Star rating links to NABERS 
We are collaborating with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, which administers the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), to increase the consistency and improve the interface between the two rating systems. A working group has been established, and since June 2011 the NABERS team has had a member on the technical working group for the Green Star – Performance rating tool, providing feedback and suggestions during the rating tool’s development. We are also actively participating in a working group aimed at aligning the three main energy modelling protocols - Green Star, NABERS and the Building Code of Australia - used in the Australian non-residential building industry. The GBCA will continue to update members on the ongoing progress of these initiatives.

Access fair, robust assessment, as we improve assessor training and quality, and conduct regular audits
While formal Green Star Assessor training programs have been in place for some time, we recognise the need to continually update and improve training to ensure assessors are at the forefront of built environment sustainability knowledge and practice. New training programs and materials are currently under development. We will continue to update members as new training programs become available.

New quality assurance processes are under development to provide greater consistency across all Green Star assessments. We are introducing an audit process for checking assessment comments prior to issuing them to project teams, and we will be conducting a minimum number of audits of each assessor. These new processes will enable us to monitor consistency and ensure we deliver high-quality assessments each and every time. 


5. Transparent

Improving the clarity and transparency of Green Star 

Learn from the successes of other projects through easy access to updated credits, technical clarifications and credit interpretation requests
We know projects want easy access to updated Green Star credits, as well as knowledge gained from other projects' Technical Clarifications (TCs) and Credit Interpretation Requests (CIRs). We are making this information available across all existing tools. Access the latest rulings.

Benefit from a more transparent environmental weighting system
We are working on a discussion paper on the use of environmental weightings in Green Star. This paper will assess limitations of the current approach and ensure environmental impacts, such as water efficiency, reflect climatic variances within each state. A new, more integrated weighting and points methodology is currently being trialled and tested in the Green Star – Communities PILOT tool.

Obtain regular updates on Green Star Revolution's progress
We value industry feedback and are working hard to ensure Green Star continues to evolve and improve. We will continue to share our progress with GBCA members and the broader industry, and encourage people to register to subscribe to our regular Green Star eUpdate.

Share your ideas and experience through annual satisfaction surveys
The 2012 Member Survey included questions relating to satisfaction with Green Star which are informing our improvement plans. Through annual surveys, we will continue to seek your feedback and quantify the impact of the Green Star Revolution initiatives. These results will be benchmarked against our first satisfaction survey, undertaken in January 2011.


6. Rigorous

Ensuring Green Star remains the market-leading environmental rating tool for buildings


Reinforce the relevance of Green Star with your stakeholders
Since its introduction to the market in 2003, Green Star has been instrumental in motivating Australia's property and construction industry to build green. Design ratings encourage project teams to consider sustainability from the initial stages of a project’s development by providing a comprehensive framework. However, many projects continue to be 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 creates confusion in the marketplace, and may disadvantage buildings that have achieved Green Star - As Built ratings, and more so, buildings that achieve Green Star - Performance ratings in the future. From 1 January 2013, Green Star - Design ratings will be valid for two years from the building’s completion date. Putting an expiry date on Design ratings will reinforce the rigour of the Green Star rating system.

Achieve recognition for the most sustainable solutions
We are investigating the introduction of minimum requirements in categories such as ‘Energy’ and ‘Water’, for each star rating. We believe that mandating a minimum score requirement for some Green Star categories will guarantee that minimum standards are met across the Green Star tools, and across all star ratings. Minimum levels of efficiency, such as within the ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ credit within the ‘Energy’ category for instance, will facilitate easier comparisons between Green Star-rated buildings of varying building types. It will also deliver measurable improvements in the environmental impact of buildings as the Green Star rating increases.

Increase the rigour of Materials credit claims, with the inclusion of life cycle assessment-based credits in the Green Star Materials category
Some materials are not explicitly addressed in Green Star, such as glass and light metals. What’s more, the Green Star ‘Materials’ credits address the impacts of materials without looking at alternatives. For example, while we might recognise the benefit of reducing the impact of concrete used in a structure, we don't recognise the difference in environmental impact of timber structures compared with concrete or steel structures, or even how much concrete is used.

While this simplified approach to materials selection has supported the industry's transition to more sustainable practices, project teams are beginning to adopt selection processes based on lifecycle assessment (LCA). In response to this, the GBCA is considering an alternative compliance approach to ‘Materials’ category credits based upon LCA. In August 2012, we released a discussion paper on how LCA may be effectively incorporated into the Green Star ‘Materials’ category. We received a number of feedback submissions on the paper, which is currently being reviewed.


7. Innovative

Delivering the next generation of Green Star 

Assess the operational performance of your existing buildings
Green Star has driven a seismic shift towards sustainable design and construction of our new buildings. Now it's time to turn our attention to where the biggest opportunity lies – with Australia’s existing buildings. The Green Star – Performance rating tool will provide holistic assessments of the operational performance of existing buildings. Green Star - Performance will deliver a rating that building owners and managers understand and trust, give tenants confidence that their buildings are environmentally-efficient and cost effective, and provide benchmarks for government policy.

Green Star – Performance is entering the last phase of development, with BETA testing of credits about to begin. Find out more about Green Star – Performance by downloading the business case or express your interest in BETA testing online. Green Star – Performance will be released as a PILOT in early 2013.

Rate your public buildings
Public buildings such as community centres and clubhouses, law courts, museums, art galleries and places of worship are now eligible for Green Star ratings. The Green Star - Public Building rating tool is currently being tested on a number of PILOT projects and will be released as a version 1 rating tool in 2013.

Collaborate on a Green Star - Custom project
Green Star - Custom helps building projects that are not eligible for assessment under any existing Green Star tool to achieve Green Star certification. Green Star - Custom rating tools have already been developed for supermarkets, restaurant chains, retirement villages, fire stations and mixed use projects. The first Green Star – Custom project, McDonald’s Kilsyth South in Victoria, was certified in June 2012, making McDonald’s the first food service provider to achieve a Green Star rating Australia-wide.

Get behind the Green Star - Communities project
With support from industry, academia and all tiers of government, the Green Star - Communities rating tool is a new voluntary standard for the planning, design and construction of communities, precincts and places across Australia. The Green Star – Communities PILOT rating tool was launched in June 2012, and we are currently working with more than 20 projects that have expressed interest in participating in the pilot process.

Green fitouts for all with Green Star - Interiors 
The Green Star – Interiors rating tool will help more people enjoy comfortable, healthy and productive indoor environments - whether that’s in a hospital, hotel, school, shop or office. Green Star – Interiors was released as a PILOT in October 2012, and the GBCA is currently seeking expressions of interest from fitout project teams across Australia for involvement in the pilot process.