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    Who owns the largest Green Star-rated portfolio in Australia?

    Geraldine Chua

    From retail centres and commercial offices to logistic and distribution facilities, the Charter Hall property group has a total of 179 projects registered as Green Star – Performance-rated. This is the largest Green Star-rated portfolio out of any property group in Australia.

    “[This portfolio rating will] provide a consistent cross-sector benchmark to enhance our buildings’ operational performance and deliver our tenant customers a consistent high-performing product,” explains Charter Hall’s managing director and group CEO, David Harrison.

    According to Harrison, this green-tinged portfolio will help Charter Hall “set targets” as the group continues to “[enhance] and invest in high-performing buildings”.

    Screen-Shot-1.png
    Charter Hall’s portfolio breakdown. Its Executive Leadership Group is ultimately responsible for the company’s Group Sustainability Policy, though governance extends through to employees and contractors.

    The Green Star – Performance tool is a rigorous third-party certification process that allows building owners and managers to access all the benefits of a Green Star rating for their existing buildings. For instance, having a credible benchmark to measure their assets’ against, which in turn creates opportunities to identify new resource efficiency improvements.

    The tool – awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) – assesses the operational performance of buildings against nine environmental impact categories: management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions, and innovation.

    Ratings range from 1-star Green Star, representing ‘Minimum Practice’, through to 6-star Green Star, representing ‘World Leadership’ in sustainable building operations. The certifications are only valid for three years, meaning developers and building managers must invest in ongoing initiatives to monitor and improve their buildings’ operational performance.

    Charter Hall’s strategy to register a significant proportion of its properties for Green Star – Performance assessment speaks volumes of its commitment to enhancing the environmental performance of its existing portfolio over time.

    It is also a smart commercial move, since improvements to a building’s operations can reduce overheads in the long run, and create more productive and healthy workplaces. Moreover, the achievement of high Green Star – Performance ratings can make older buildings more attractive to tenants and buyers. A 2011 Jones Lang LaSalle report noted that 95 percent of tenants want to occupy a green building. The same year, an Australian Property Institute report further suggested that Green Star-rated buildings deliver a 12 percent ‘green premium’ in value, and a five percent premium in rent.

    Screen-Shot-2-1.pngPart of Charter Hall's sustainability strategy includes addressing environmental efficiencies, operational carbon footprint, and issues of technological changes. Source: Charter Hall Group Sustainability Report 2016

    It is no surprise then that Charter Hall is not the only property group in the country seeking more Green Star – Performance ratings.

    Last year, Vicinity Centres – a company that owns and manages retail stores across the country, including Chatswood Chase in Sydney and QueensPlaza in Brisbane – achieved 92 Green Star – Performance ratings. This represents 100 percent of their portfolio.

    “We found it really helpful in highlighting existing areas of best practice, which we are now rolling out across the broader portfolio to drive performance improvements,” explains Melissa Schulz, Vicinity Centre’s general manager of sustainability.

    Meanwhile, Dexus Property Group has 76 Green Star – Performance ratings under its belt. Paul Wall, group sustainability and operations manager, said the tool has helped his team collect data for “an asset class that has historically been difficult to obtain”.

    “Having credible metrics to start the discussion with our industrial tenants allows us to open up a broader discussion about energy efficiency and renewable energy, which can provide benefits [such as] cost reductions and energy security.”

    Frasers Property, who held the first portfolio rating in Australia, isn’t too far behind. The company currently has 70 Green Star – Performance ratings.

    “We will continue to engage closely with our customers to collect the relevant data and drive improved environmental performance,” promised Paolo Bevilacqua, the general manager of sustainability at Frasers Property Australia.

    Screen-Shot-3-1.pngFrasers Property Australia’s 2030 goals, which include being smarter and more resource efficient, and ultimately regenerating the resources its buildings use.

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