Changes to the Green Building system have added time limits on Green Star – Design ratings for buildings in Australia.
Last week, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBAC) announced that as of January 1, 2013, the Green Star – Design rating will be valid for only 24 months after a building’s practical completion.
The new time restriction will apply to any project registered for a Design rating from January 1, 2013 irrespective of the rating tool used, but will not affect projects registered before this date.
Andrew Aitken, GBCA Executive Director – Green Star, says the new changes are designed to address existing confusion about the ratings and strengthen the rating system.
Aitken says many of the buildings to have achieved Green Star status during the design phase have been promoted as ‘Green Star’ long after they have been built, even in cases where the buildings in question have certification only for their design as opposed to their actual construction or ongoing performance.
He says the Green Star – Design rating refers specifically to the design of the building, and is not intended to attest to the building’s environmental performance once it has been constructed or after it is in use. By contrast, the Green Star – As Built certification attests to the buildings performance once it is complete, operational and in use.
The Green Star – As Built rating demonstrates that a building has lived up to its design promise. The Green Building Council of Australia is also developing a Green Star – Performance rating tool which will assess the operational performance of buildings.
Therefore, when buildings have achieved the Design rating but have not achieved the As Built rating, Aitken says any promotion of the building in question as being Green Star certified is misleading. Furthermore, he says, removing this confusion by placing time limits on the Design certification will encourage adoption of the As-Built certification and thus further encourage environmentally-friendly practices in building construction and maintenance after the design phase.
“Green Star ratings have been instrumental in motivating Australia’s property and construction industry to design and build green,” he explains. “Design ratings encourage project teams to consider Green Star from the initial stages of the project development by providing best practice benchmarks for sustainable design.”
“The ‘Design’ rating is seen as a promise within the industry, which then provides the groundwork for a Green Star – As Built rating. The As Built rating demonstrates that this promise has been delivered in construction, which in turn provides the foundation for an ongoing assessment of the building’s performance in operation.”
The new changes have received a positive response from within the industry. Siobhan Toohill, Stockland general manager of corporate responsibility and sustainability, says the introduction of time-bound ratings for Green Star – Design will help ensure that completed buildings deliver on the Green Star promises made during the design phase.
Grocon Chief Executive Officer Daniel Grollo agrees.
“Once a building is constructed, our focus should be on what was actually built, not the design,” he says. “The GBCA’s new measure will support the uptake of more Green Star – As Built ratings, and ensure that green design translates into green buildings.”