GBCA proposes net zero carbon buildings in Green Star system

by Melanie Basta
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A push to net zero carbon buildings is among proposed changes of the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star system.

In line with a 1.5 degree Celsius target in the Paris Agreement, any building seeking to achieve a six star Green Star rating will be required to achieve net zero energy consumption, bringing to the forefront low energy buildings, powered by renewables, to the highest of honours in sustainable building.

The new requirement is a highlight of the GBCA’s proposed future-focused rating system. Building on Green Star’s success, Green Star for New Buildings goes beyond the traditional definition of green buildings to deliver a new vision for what buildings can be: healthy, resilient and positive places for people and nature, as well as responsibly built environments that showcase leadership.

GBCA’s head of Market Transformation, Jorge Chapa, says the Green Star rating system had transformed Australia’s built environment with the certification of more than 2,250 projects across the country since its introduction in 2003.

“Now, in consultation with industry, we want to build on this success and deliver the next generation of aspirational targets to ensure Australia’s built environment stays at the forefront of sustainability,” he says.

“The next critical decade needs ambitious actions. Green Star for New Buildings aims to promote ambitious action on carbon emissions with a drive towards net zero carbon and carbon positive buildings.

“In order to ensure our ratings continue to recognise Australia’s most sustainable developments, we want to introduce a new set of categories and credits that better reflect industry’s ambitions, and what it can achieve.

“We also want to continue to deliver an accessible entry point, so through Green Star for New Buildings we are proposing to maintain our existing entry-level standards for a best practice Green Star building while taking steps 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.”

Other changes proposed include additional opportunities to promote exceptional achievement in performance, as well as sector-specific credits to recognise issues relevant to particular building types.

“We know our world-leading Australian industry can continue to rise to these challenges.”

The consultation paper for Green Star for New Buildings reflects 12 months of preliminary consultation with industry stakeholders across the country. Ten expert panels have provided valuable feedback with over 130 participants.

Industry leader Davina Rooney, general manager of Sustainability at Stockland and incoming GBCA CEO, says the consultation for Future Focus was exemplary, and is excited for the future iteration of Green Star.

“Green Star has been re-thought from the ground up to deliver a relevant, accessible, and more valuable rating tool,” says Rooney.

The consultation period is open until June 10, 2019. Find our more at https://new.gbca.org.au/green-star/future-focus/

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