29 February 2012 – Visitors to Green Cities 2012 in Sydney from 5-7 March can see a preview of the Green Star – Communities rating tool.

The Green Building Council of Australia’s manager sustainable communities, Adam Beck, said: “This is one of the world’s first independent, transparent, national schemes able to assess and certify the sustainability of community-level projects,”

The tool will benchmark developments at a community scale by assessing them against six categories: liveability; economic prosperity; environment; community design; governance; and innovation.

“It is the first tool to consider environmental issues – such as minimising energy and water consumption and reducing dependence on motor vehicles alongside broader holistic sustainability issues such as economic prosperity, housing affordability and community diversity,” he said.

To be eligible for a rating, a minimum number of points will be mandatory in each category, which Mr Beck says will ensure projects are pushed beyond focusing solely on environmental impacts

“As just one example, the tool includes seven liveability and seven economic credits that will sit alongside 12 environmental credits.  So, not only will project teams need to demonstrate world-class urban design practices, but also demonstrate how their project is committed to corporate social responsibility, how it invests in community facilities and incentivises sustainable lifestyles.”

The tool preview is at 8.00-8.30am on Tuesday 6 March.

The conference which showcases green building thinkers, industry experts and manufacturers is at the convention and exhibition centre in Darling Harbour. See http/www.greencities.org.au