John Goddard

30 April 2013 — Green Star Interiors :: Flying Start is helping owners of commercial property to use the base building’s standards of environmental performance to attract “green-minded” tenants.

The program, developed by John Goddard of J Goddard & Co and Inge Diamond of ECO3, in association with Colonial First State Global Asset Management and the Green Building Council of Australia, makes it easier for tenants to assess a building’s environmental performance and has been shown to provide up to 60 per cent of points needed for a four-star Green Star Interiors rating.

The seed for the tool was planted four years ago when Goddard received a call from a friend whose building was set for a four-star Green Star Office Interiors rating, though they wanted to try for five stars. A consultant had recommended putting in an expensive automatic blind system, which cost upwards of $80,000, to make up the points. Thinking it seemed awfully expensive, the friend called Goddard for advice. Goddard noted the consultant had missed the fact you could be awarded points for the elements of the base building.

With the new Green Star Interiors tool, now in its pilot phase, there is even more scope for tenants to use elements of the base building to gain “free points” towards their Green Star rating. With the soon-to-be-phased-out Green Star Office Interiors tool, if a landlord had put in carpet with green credentials, a tenant would not be able to use this towards a Green Star rating unless the carpet was taken out and a new one put in.

Now that these problems are being addressed, and more elements of the base building are available for tenants to gain a Green Star Interiors rating, Green Star Interiors :: Flying Start becomes an important tool to differentiate building performance and increase the ease of gaining a Green Star Interiors rating for tenants.

“In two studies on CBD commercial buildings, 60 per cent of the points needed for a tenant’s four-star Green Star Interiors rating were identified through assessment of the base building attributes and performance,” Goddard said.

“In Green Star Interiors :: Flying Start a review of the base building is carried out to assess the Green Star Interiors credit points that could be available to an incoming tenant simply by choosing that building,” he said.

“A base building documentation package describing the Green Star Interiors points available to tenants is prepared.

“The package can then be provided to the tenant and used by them in their own Green Star Interiors application.

“By benefitting from the points available from the base building and sustainable procurement advice, the tenant is well on the way to achieving their own Green Star Interiors rating,” Mr Goddard said.

“By choosing environmentally friendly materials and systems in their fit out, a Green Star Interiors rating should be within easy reach.”

Mr Goddard said the GBCA’s new Green Star Interiors tool, released late last year and currently being piloted, recognised that the best environmental performance outcomes could only be achieved when landlords and tenants worked together.

“Green Star Interiors :: Flying Start takes advantage of this by encouraging and demonstrating the rewards from co-operation between the parties,” he said.

In the past, landlords and tenants had been “almost enemies”, Goddard said, but more cooperation through joint commitment to good environmental performance was starting to be seen. The tool provides a way to further encourage cooperation between owners and tenants.

Mr Goddard said a trial was carried out for Colonial First State Global Asset Management at 60 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, a building built before Green Star ratings were available, though had been significantly upgraded to high standards of environmental performance.

“The result was that a tenant moving to that building could potentially achieve 60 per cent of the points needed for a four-star Green Star Interiors rating, 45 per cent of the points needed for a five-star Green Star Interiors rating and 36 per cent the points needed for a six-star Green Star Interiors rating.

The tool provides a way to assess the environmental performance of commercial buildings, whether rated or not, Mr Goddard said.

GBCA chief executive officer Romilly Madew said Flying Start was a great program that could help tenants make informed decisions about their next move, and what they’ll need to do to achieve a Green Star Interiors rating.

Colonial First State Global Asset Management property head of sustainability Rowan Griffin said the system was innovative and “would be of significant benefit to promote the sustainability measures put in place by environmentally aware property owners”.

Green Star Interiors :: Flying Start was a runner-up in the GBCA’s Weapons of Mass Creation competition at Green Cities 2013 and has also been entered it in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors annual property awards, in the sustainability section, held on May 2.