In an online happening conducted October 29, GBCA introduced its Green Star Buildings rating tool – the introductory component in a new suite of tools to be presented as part of the largest overhaul of Green Star in its nearly 20-year history.
With the help of this tool, new structures Green Star certified must be built in a manner that will deliver on Australia’s commitments as dictated by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
From this year on, all new structures that aspire to attain a 6-Star rating must be ‘NetZero’.
To accomplish this feat, they must be:
- free of fossil fuels
- 100 percent empowered by renewable energy
- Extensively efficient
- totally electric (no gas)
- built with low upfront emissions and
- offset with investments to cut down on an equal amount of volume of carbon emissions for any emissions that they produce.
The NetZero requirement will be considered only in the case of 6 Star buildings.
By 2023, 2026 and 2030, the standard will apply to new buildings which want to achieve a 5 Star rating, 4 Star rating or any Green Star rating.
The tool encompasses a fresh definition of a sustainable building.
With the new tool, structures will be deemed sustainable if they meet basic standards in accordance with at least seven of eight criteria.
These criteria encompass responsible design, procurement and construction; resilience; supporting and facilitating resident health; enhancing the environment; supporting the construction of safe, inclusive and interconnected spaces; facilitating solutions that support affirmative social outcomes; promoting an active connection between human beings and nature; and demonstrating leadership, expressing a vision for business or increasing the building industry’s ability to innovate.
Other aspects of the tool include:
- Inclusion of the need to consider a trio of worldwide megatrends, such as a call for action on climate change, an efficient use of resources and facilitation of health and wellbeing
- A focus on supply chain improvement; and
- Minimum requirements for any Green Star building.
Green Star Buildings aim for new certified buildings to encompass megatrends identified as vital stakeholder priorities by the World Green Building Council.
These feature a drive for action on climate change, effective utilisation of resources and promotion of good health.
The tool also considers UN Sustainability Goals, as well as recommendations regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The tool establishes requirements within particular credits that will adhere to targets featured in the UN goals and set a path for buildings to build toward limiting global temperature boosts to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Regarding supply chain changes, the tool sets forth a fresh framework called the Responsible Products Framework.
This framework acknowledges products that are clear, have lessor environmental impact, have a clear path to lessening the carbon content in their products, and are acting to honour human rights and ridding the spectre of modern slavery.
And GBCA has specified minimal standards for any building certified to any level.
GBCA CEO Davina Rooney said that the value of the new rating tool should not be underestimated. She said the need is real to rid buildings of carbon emissions and make net-zero the new norm.