Community centres, law courts and libraries get ready for a Green Star makeover

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has released a new pilot rating tool to support the sustainable planning, design and construction of high-performance public buildings.

Speaking at the launch of the pilot rating tool in Brisbane today, GBCA Chief Executive, Romilly Madew, said that while more than 270 buildings around Australia had achieved Green Star ratings, up until now public buildings fell outside the scope of Green Star.

"While hospitals, schools, shopping centres and industrial sheds have been able to achieve Green Star ratings for some time, law courts, museums, art galleries and places of worship could not. This is about to change, with the release of the Green Star - Public Building PILOT rating tool," Ms Madew said.

"This new tool means that industry has access to best practice benchmarks for public buildings, as well as a system of independently-verified certification which clearly demonstrates the sustainability credentials of leading public buildings around Australia," Ms Madew said.

The new Green Star - Public Building PILOT rating tool will soon be trialled on a handful of specially-selected pilot projects and the GBCA is currently seeking expressions of interest from building projects to participate in the pilot process.

There are strict eligibility criteria, which can be downloaded from the GBCA website.

The Green Star - Public Building PILOT tool is based on the existing Green Star tools, with some customisation and new content, including a revised water category, revised materials calculator and methodology for assessing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as an updated management category.

The Green Building Council of Australia says that the evidence for green building continues to stack up.

"Green buildings are built for both energy and water efficiency, so they are cheaper to operate - routinely consuming around a quarter less energy than the average building and generating around a third less greenhouse gas emissions," Ms Madew said, adding that green building practices also increase productivity, reduce liability and risk, and are more likely to attract grants, subsidies and other incentives.

"Increasingly, people around the world perceive green buildings as modern, ethical and proactive - and companies, councils, governments and community organisations associated with green buildings benefit from these perceptions through community pride, satisfaction and well-being. By integrating green principles into our public buildings, we will be leaving the community with a lasting legacy - and a more cost-effective one," Ms Madew concluded.

The Green Star Public Building PILOT rating tool was developed with the support of Platinum sponsor, Queensland Government Department of Public Work. Gold sponsors of the project are: Major Projects Victoria, City of Sydney, Building Management Works - Department of Treasury and Finance (WA), City of Port Phillip and Manningham City Council. Silver sponsors are: Willoughby City Council, Bluescope Buildings, Bovis Lend Lease, Hobson Bay City Council, Sustainability Victoria, City of Onkaparinga, City of Yarra and Department of Justice Victoria.

About the Green Building Council of Australia
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is Australia's leading authority on green building. The GBCA was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices.

The GBCA has more than 900 member companies who work together to support the Council and its activities. The GBCA promotes green building programs, technologies, design practices and processes, and operates Australia's only national voluntary comprehensive environmental rating system for buildings - Green Star.