The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is 6 Star Green Star

25 February 2010: If you are confused about the difference between a Green Star rating for buildings and a NABERS rating, you are not alone. One rates the design of a building – the Green Star – and other rates the performance – NABERS – so the numbers of stars in each don’t always mean the same thing.

Now, after the managers of each rating system sing a memorandum of understanding, the two will become more compatible and more consistent.

The Green Building Council of Australia, which managed Green Star and the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, which administers NABERS, said in a joint media statement that the agreement would mean the two systems would  “share information on rating tool development, calculators, benchmarks and methodologies to strengthen both rating systems.”

Chief executive of the GBCA Romilly Madew flagged the new collaboration at the Green Cities 2010 conference in Melbourne this week and it was officially announced today.

“We are committed to working together to develop a common language for both rating tools and the metrics that underpin them. This will deliver greater compatibility between the assessment of building attributes covered by Green Star and performance of key impact areas such as energy, water and waste, which are assessed by NABERS,” Ms Madew said.

DECCW’s manager built environment, Matthew Clark, said the collaboration would help to close the loop between the design and construction professions and those who ultimately operate and occupy a building.

“This commitment to work together and share knowledge will result in more sustainable outcomes for Australian buildings,” Mr Clark said.

Chief executive officer of the Property Council of Australia, Peter Verwer said the marketplace would welcome the move as a “strong signal of collaboration.”

The media statement outlined the major elements of the two rating systems:

  • Green Star – The Green Building Council of Australia launched the Green Star environmental ratin system for buildings in 2003.  Green Star evaluates the green attributes of building projects in nine categories, including energy and water efficiency, indoor environment quality and materials.  Green Star rating tools are currently available or in development for a variety of sectors, including commercial offices (design, construction and interior fitouts), retail centres, schools and universities, multi-unit residential dwellings and healthcare facilities.  The GBCA has certified more than 220 Green Star projects, with  further 460 currently registered for certification.
  • NABERS, or the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, is a government initiative launched nationally in 2000 and is managed by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water on behalf of the federal, state and territory governments. It measures and compares environmental performance, communicating the actual impact of a building in a simple and intuitive manner to owners, tenants and the community. NABERS measures a range of environmental impact categories, including energy, water, waste and indoor environment, and offers tools for commercial offices, hotels, hospitals and homes. To date, office buildings containing more than 10.5 million square metres of space, or about 50 per cent of the national office market, have rated their energy efficiency using NABERS Energy. On average, these buildings have reduced their emissions by 13 per cent.
The Fifth Estate – sustainable property

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