Hi there. You’re on the Australian site,
take me to the
Oct—23

Improve your Green Star rating performance


It’s official: buildings contribute up to one third of the world’s greenhouse gases.

Consider then the impact we can make by redesigning our cities to be more sustainable and less destructive to the natural world. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that modern planners, architects, and businesses alike are moving towards ‘Green Buildings’ – especially when their benefits have been proven to not only combat climate change, but also to save greatly on long-term operational costs, reducing energy, water consumption and maintenance costings.

What does Green Stars mean?


‘Sustainability’ has become a buzzword, one that doesn’t always guarantee an environmentally-friendly, carbon-neutral build. How can we know for certain which of our buildings are excelling?

Enter Green Star, an internationally-recognised rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings, fitout and communities.

But how does it work? Each building is given a certified rating which looks at its entire lifecycle – from design and construction, to refurbishment to end-of-life – and provides a benchmark for success while verifying the sustainability of a project.

The ratings range from 0 Stars to 6 Stars and are decided through the following factors: Management, Indoor Environment Quality, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Land Use and Ecology, Emissions and Innovation.

What makes a building rate highly for Green Stars?


Green Star's categories help answer the following questions: is the design low-impact? Will it be carbon-neutral? How durable is the design? Will it be able to be adapted in the face of climate change? Will it protect the area’s biodiversity?

To receive 6 Stars, a building must receive 75+ points – they must excel in every area of sustainability.


Method Recycling Stations have been shown to help divert waste from landfill to an exceedingly high degree, and can be easily adapted to add new waste streams. Effective recycling bins, designed to be out in the open, promote sustainable behaviours by introducing accountability into a space. Other ways to increase your rating in the waste category include using reclaimed and recycled materials in construction, and organising waste service providers that will work with your needs.

Example: What does a 6 Star building look like?

The first new-build 6 Star rated office building opened in Auckland's Parnell in 2012. Called the Geyser, it is owned by Sampson Corporation, has 24 offices and six retail + hospitality spaces.

"To get that sixth star you need to have an international innovation," said the architects Pattersons & Associates director Andrew Patterson. "We sliced the building and then ended up with a building of separate parts. This creates light and air around the whole tenancy.”

How can we make existing buildings more efficient?


Consider the following when refurbishing:

Materials

  • Can the materials in your refurbishment be more environmentally friendly, for example by having a higher recycled content?
  • Can they help to minimise both carbon and water in your building by consisting of lower amounts of these?
  • Can they have a longer lifespan or be more durable?
  • Can they be sourced locally?

Waste

  • Can waste be minimised through your project cycle, with elements retained, reused or recycled?
  • Can Method Recycling Stations be added to ensure recycling is effective within your building and waste is diverted from landfill?

Water

  • Can you install tools that will help you harvest rainwater or recycle greywater?
  • Can you specify and install water-efficient fixtures and fittings?

Energy

  • Can you install energy-efficient heating and cooling systems?
  • Can you use LED lighting or tools that will better insulate your building?

Here’s how to find the right architect to ensure your BREEAM certification is high.


If you're looking to build rather than refurbish, you'll need to make sure you do your research before enlisting an architect to turn your sustainability dreams into a reality. Have they worked on previous projects that have been recognised by BREEAM? Are they qualified to complete your build with the level of knowledge required?

The architect should also be able to translate the clients ideas into reality, using both common architectural sense, and the most up to date technology and methods. This might include solar panels, thermal mass building construction, green materials, including wood, stone, or earth (or even recycled waste materials, such as tyres or glass or plastic bottles).

Sustainable Build