The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has revised its guide to help councils tackle local challenges, deliver and communicate better outcomes and multiply the value of their investments.

“The way our cities and communities are planned, designed and built has an enormous impact on our economy, our wellbeing and our environment,” says the GBCA’s CEO, Romilly Madew.

According to the GBCA, since it launched Green Star – Communities back in 2012, 26 projects have been certified. A further 24 are currently registered for certification.

“When the first version of the guide was issued, we only had a handful of projects registered to achieve Green Star – Communities ratings. Now we have 26 projects rated, and many more case studies to share,” said Maddew.

These projects range in size from small urban regeneration sites to large-scale greenfield developments that will be home to 50,000 people, including Tonsley in Adelaide, a former manufacturing park that has been transformed into a centre for innovation, and Ginninderry, a joint venture between the ACT Government and Riverview Developments, that will eventually accommodate 30,000 people.

“The City of Parramatta was the first local government to register for Green Star – Communities for Parramatta Square (one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects) and was also the first local government to mandate Green Star – Design & As Built outcomes for all buildings within a precinct,” she said.

Parramatta Square, one of the largest urban renewal projects in Australia, is currently registered to achieve a Green Star rating, and has mandated 5-star Green Star minimum ratings for all buildings within the precinct.

“Each Green Star – Communities project is unique, but they have one thing in common: a deep commitment to best practice governance, urban design, liveability, economic opportunities, environmental sustainability and innovation,” Madew says.

“At a time when governments must demonstrate accountability and value for money, a Green Star – Communities rating takes the risk out of a council’s hands by providing independent verification and assurance that the right investments are being made for the future.”