We explain the Green Star building rating system changing communities
These days we’re all familiar with the energy star rating labels that come attached to various household electrical goods - everything from washing machines and fridges through to swimming pool pumps and air conditioners. But did you know that there’s also a rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings and communities? It’s called the Green Star rating system, a certification program run by the Green Building Council of Australia, and it’s helping to lower the environmental footprint of our buildings while improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.
How does Green Star work exactly?
Green Star is a comprehensive environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings and communities. Born out of the sustainability principles developed for the Sydney Olympics, the program aims to share these principles across the wider property development community. Now there are more than 1,900 Green Star certified projects nationally. Certification hinges on – among other things - construction and fit-out materials, reuse and recycling, site orientation, energy and water consumption, land use and ecology, as well as ongoing management practices, liveability and economic prosperity.
Green Star performance
Ratings are based on nine environmental impact categories.
1. MANAGEMENT. This credit assesses and rewards the policies, procedures, targets and strategies put in place to ensure buildings operate to their fullest sustainable potential. Includes the ongoing monitoring of energy and water use, and the implementation of green cleaning policies and practices.
2. IINDOOR ENVIRONMENT QUALITY. The creation of high quality indoor environments has been shown to increase productivity and occupant satisfaction. This category assesses and rewards strategies and actions taken to ensure buildings are healthy and comfortable places to live and work in.
3. ENERGY. Buildings are the single largest contributor to the world’s energy consumption. This section assesses and rewards the actions taken to reduce a building’s operational energy use, reliance on grid energy supply and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with grid energy consumption.
4. TRANSPORT. The Transport category rewards strategies and actions that discourage single-occupant vehicle use and encourage the use of alternative transportation modes such as public transport, walking or cycling.
5. WATER. Credits are rewarded based on reductions in potable water use through the efficient design of building services, water reuse and substitution with non- potable water sources such as rainwater or greywater.
6. MATERIALS. The Materials category assesses issues such as sustainable procurement and purchasing (materials in) and the management of waste (materials out).
7. LAND USE & ECOLOGY. The Land Use and Ecology category assesses the approach taken to determine the ecological value of a site and the management and improvement of biodiversity through policies and management practices.
8. EMISSIONS. This category addresses the approach taken to manage and minimise emissions from stormwater, light pollution
9. INNOVATION. Innovation drives progress. This category is based on innovative technologies or processes implemented in buildings and their operations.
Why greener matters
The world’s built environment - our homes, offices, buildings, cities and suburbs - stands as the planet’s single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, consuming around a third of our water, and generating 40% of our waste. By rethinking how we design, build and organise these places, we can lower the impact we’re having on our resources as well as reduce the cost of energy needed to heat and cool them. Best of all, we can live and work in cleaner, healthier communities that strike a more harmonious balance between people and nature.
Where can I find a Green Star rated community?
Frasers Property is committed to making its buildings and communities Green Star accredited. Its Life, Point Cook development was certified 5-Star earlier this year, while the Fairwater development
in NSW was certified 6-Star in 2016, with recognition from the Urban Development Institute of Australia with an award for Excellence in Environmental Technology and Sustainability. Burwood Brickworks and Mambourin in Melbourne, as well as Ed.Square in Sydney have been designed to attain 6-Star certification, considered ‘world leadership’ for sustainable communities by the Green Building Council.