A series of changes proposed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) include a mandatory net zero benchmark for any building seeking a 6 Star Green Star rating. 

The new requirement, which parallels the 1.5°C Paris Agreement trajectory, is a highlight of the GBCA’s proposed future-focused rating system. The new assessment tool seeks to go beyond the traditional definitions of sustainability to deliver a new vision of healthy, resilient and positive buildings. And net zero carbon is at the heart of this future. 

“A 6-Star Green Star building will have to have a low energy demand and use 100 percent renewable electricity to meet certification requirements in 2020,” GBCA Head of Market Transformation Jorge Chapa explained in a piece for The Fifth Estate.

“By 2023, 5-Star Green Star rated buildings will also have to source their electricity from 100 percent renewables. We are also targeting the use of fossil fuels in buildings, with requirements to reduce their use as much as possible and offset the rest,” he added.

The new Green Star for New Buildings rating tool currently being developed was first launched in March 2018, and is designed to be more relevant, ambitious and extensive than its predecessors. It features a new set of eight categories, including a place-making category intended to encourage the creation of better spaces in cities.

Green star for buildings categories
The eight categories being proposed for the Green Star for New Buildings tool.

It also offers opportunities to earn additional sector-specific credits that recognise issues and excellence relevant to particular building types. This includes credits that encourage a holistic approach to minimising a building’s impact on its neighbours.

An indication of the issues and outcomes being considered by the new rating tool.

To continue delivering an accessible entry point, existing entry-level standards for a best practice Green Star building will be maintained, while steps will be taken to make the process of achieving this outcome less complicated.

“As technologies transform how we build, we believe a Green Star rating will become more important to assure the delivery of what should be even more achievable sustainable outcomes on the ground,” Chapa said. 

A consultation paper for the new Green Star for New Buildings tool has been released, and reflects 12 months of preliminary consultation with industry and stakeholders across Australia. Ten expert panels have provided feedback with over 130 participants. 

The consultation period is open until June 10, 2019. You can view the paper at https://new.gbca.org.au/green-star/future-focus/.