green cities 2018

A major increase in ambition for Green Star ratings has been foreshadowed by the Green Building Council of Australia at this week’s Green Cities 2018 conference in Melbourne.

GBCA head of market transformation Jorge Chapa announced that consultation had commenced on changes that would see Green Star become more demanding, more focused on carbon positive outcomes and take in a whole-of-asset approach that includes operational performance.

Green Star was last revised in 2014, resulting in four rating tools that addressed the “majority of Australia’s built environment”, he said.

Uptake of the tools saw the number of Green Star certified projects grow from 646 at the start of 2014 to over 1750.

“That’s more than 1000 buildings, fitouts and communities,” Mr Chapa said.

“Thirty-seven per cent of Australia’s office space is Green Star-rated and more than 725,000 Australians work in Green Star offices. A further 42,000 people live in Green Star apartments.

“More than 425,000 people are moving into Green Star-rated communities, and 1.3 million people visit a Green Star-rated shopping centre each day.”

He said that while these were “laudable achievements”, the industry could not “afford to rest on our laurels”.

“Decisions that we make today will shape the future of countless generations.

“What does the built environment that we want to live in look like?”

In addition to putting the focus on performance and carbon, proposals for evolving Green Star include expanding the scope to take in more social responsibility issues such as slavery in the supply chain, advancing reconciliation, and ensuring affordability and inclusiveness.

The impact of buildings on tenants is also part of the suite of proposed changes, as is increased benchmarks for ecology, biodiversity, transport, health and wellbeing.

In addition, all Green Star ratings for buildings and fitouts will be conditional on committing to a Green Star Performance rating. Under this proposal, if an asset does not achieve that rating, its Green Star rating will expire.

The GBCA is now asking the industry to engage and comment on its initial proposals for changes to the rating tools, and a Carbon Positive Roadmap discussion paper, a foretaste of which was also launched at the conference.

Fully renewable buildings in two years

“Most importantly, we want your support to ramp up Green Star requirements in line with the 1.5°C trajectory set out in the Paris Agreement,” Mr Chapa said.

“We want carbon positive buildings.

“We want world leading Green Star-rated buildings and fitouts to be fully powered by renewables from 2020 onwards.

“And no new or existing building with a Green Star rating should emit carbon from operations by 2030.”

The full discussion papers for both the evolution of Green Star and the Carbon Positive Roadmap will be launched in the coming weeks, Mr Chapa said.

There will also be feedback sessions held in April and May.

“We’re in this together – and it’s only by working together that we’ll realise this vision for a healthy, resilient and positive future.”

  • Read the two summary papers here

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