The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA)
has recently released Green Star certification tools for healthcare
and multi unit residential developments. This represents a valuable
opportunity for developers and operators to maximise the benefits
derived from energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives
(including lower operating costs) and achieve high profile
recognition and certification in the process.
What is Green Star?
Green Star is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental
rating system that evaluates the environmental design and
construction of buildings. The Green Star certification system has
had extraordinary success in the commercial sector (the original
Green Star certification tool), with 11% of CBD commercial office
buildings across Australia now Green Star certified.
What does Green Star certification involve?
Green Star certification has effectively created a common
language of sustainable development standards and in many sectors
of the market certification is now synonymous with lower operating
costs, enhanced marketability, productivity benefits, greater
tenant attraction and potentially a higher return on
Broadly, Green Star certification assesses and rates the
environmental impact of a building as a direct consequence of site
selection, design, construction and maintenance practices. Areas
considered in the assessment include levels of greenhouse gas
emissions and energy use and efficiency (such as lighting, HVAC
systems and alternative energy sources such as the use of solar
panels), water use (reduction of potable water through efficient
design, water re-use and utilisation of rainwater), materials
(selections of sustainable core building materials), land use
(discouraging degradation of flora and fauna) and transport
(reduction of demand for use of individual cars).
What types of developments are eligible?
Buildings with the following mix of gross floor area are
eligible for participation in the healthcare rating certification
a minimum of 80% of BCA Class 9a (health-care building), 9c
(aged care building), 8 (laboratory/goods production) and 5
a minimum of 50% of BCA Class 9a (health-care building) or 9c
(aged care building).
Accordingly, many aged care facilities are likely to be eligible
for participation in the Healthcare rating tool certification
Buildings with 2 or more residential units and with a minimum of
80% of the building's gross floor area comprised of any
combination of BCA Class 2 and 1a are eligible for participation in
the multi unit residential rating certification process (which may
include developments primarily comprising independent living
The GBCA is presently developing a customised process to
consider developments that may not be eligible under the healthcare
or multi unit residential tools (which may include some mixed use
developments, including those that comprise a mix of aged care
facilities and independent living units) and work with developers
to tailor a rating tool to suit the specific characteristics of the
development. This will allow those developments to participate in
the Green Star certification process using a hybrid rating
The introduction of healthcare and multi unit residential
categories represents a valuable opportunity for developers and
operators to participate in the Green Star certification scheme and
achieve well recognised certification for a commitment to
sustainable design and building practices while maximising the
returns on energy efficient and sustainable building and design
practices through lower operating costs.
What you need to do
Achieving a Green Star rating requires a collaborative effort
between all members of the project team, early planning at the
outset of the project and a detailed understanding of what is
required to obtain credits under the certification process.
Tailored contracting arrangements covering key legal issues are
also critical to the success of a Green Star project (including
construction contracts, project management and other consultancy
agreements). Gadens Lawyers has extensive
experience in drafting and implementing innovative contracting
solutions in Green Star developments.
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