The Green Building Council of Australia has released the new Green Star Design & As Built tool, which it says is the most significant update to Green Star since its launch.

Following criticisms of the cost involved in obtaining Green Star ratings, the new tool is designed to be cheaper and easier to use, with flexibility in demonstrating compliance, streamlined documentation and easy-to-use templates. The rating will be given to completed buildings, with an optional “design review” so project teams can start marketing Green Star earlier.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said the tool represented the “most significant advancement in sustainable design and construction since we launched Green Star in 2003”.

She said the new tool would challenge industry to evolve, innovate and improve.

“Unprecedented collaboration with industry has involved hundreds of experts providing their input into the rating tool’s credit criteria, benchmarks and documentation requirements to ensure we deliver a rating tool that will be truly transformational,” Ms Madew said.

The tool incorporates new credits to address significant and emerging sustainability challenges, including the urban heat island effect, sustainable transport and lifecycle analysis.

These credits include:

  • Adaptation and resilience: rewards buildings that are designed to be resilient in the face of a changing climate and extreme weather events.
  • Life cycle impacts: encourages the holistic reduction of environmental impacts of building materials.
  • Responsible building materials: recognises the use of building materials that have been sourced responsibly or have Chain of Custody certification.
  • Sustainable products: rewards projects that specify building products that can demonstrate their sustainability credentials through environmental product declarations and third-party certification.
  • Heat island effect: rewards projects that take steps to reduce their influence on the heat island effect in our cities.
  • Sustainable transport: includes new pathways to demonstrate sustainable transport initiatives, including a Google Maps-powered calculator and encourages walking and cycling.