The Green Star rating system explained

February 23, 2022
CIM Team

Environmental systems such as the Green Star rating, GRESB and NABERS have been created to encourage building owners, operators and tenants to improve sustainability and make sure the built environment plays its part in curbing climate change.

With the sector being one of the largest contributors to climate change – producing over 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a smart strategy for Government agencies to engage with the industry.

As well as helping building owners optimise the efficiency of their buildings and deliver significant positive impact to our built environment, there are significant financial benefits to achieving strong ratings. Tenants are increasingly only looking to lease space which can prove its green credentials and more sustainable real estate portfolios can often get access to cheaper capital.

Below we answer many of the initial questions that you’re likely to have regarding the Green Star rating system and the benefits. You can skip to a specific question by clicking on it below:

The Green Star rating system explained

Founded by Green Building Council of Australia in 2003, Green Star is an internationally recognised rating system charged with setting the standard for healthy, resilient, positive buildings and places.

A voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings in Australia, ratings can be achieved at the design, construction or fit out phase of buildings, or during the ongoing operational phase.

Specifically developed with the Australian environment in mind, a Green Star rating provides independent verification that a building or community project is sustainable, with thousands of sustainable fit-outs, buildings, homes and communities certified across the country to date.

While you can achieve a maximum six stars, the ratings do vary dependent upon the categories.

What is a Green Star rating?

Managed by GBCA, Green Star certification involves a formal process where ratings are assessed by an independent, third-party assessor.

While less intensive than the NABERS process, the Green Star rating is set to add to the ongoing peer pressure within the industry to provide energy efficient (read: carbon emission corralled) buildings. Its government managed system gives a level of kudos that tenants of the future are likely to not only look for – but demand.

What is the main objective of the Green Star rating?

Much like NABERS, the core goal of the Green Star rating system is to encourage – if not actively provoke – the industry to take action and step up to meeting the net zero targets demanded on a global scale. This program provides independent verification that a building or community project is sustainable.

Green Star seeks to assist building owners in reducing the impact of climate change and contributing to market transformation and a sustainable economy amongst other goals.

The program’s focus on rating buildings in the early stages -encompassing projects in the planning, design, construction or fit out phases highlights the opportunity for new builds to get in on the ground floor with building data analytics. Free from the constraints (or headaches) of legacy systems which fail to communicate effectively, taking advantage of a platform such as PEAK from day one of practical completion will not only assist with optimising your Green Star Rating, but ensure your building operates at peak efficiency from the very start.

How are projects assessed for certification?

After officially registering your project with Green Star, there is a range of documentation requirements you’ll need to complete and submit to demonstrate that your building, fit out or community meets Green Star's sustainability benchmarks with our submission guidelines.

These submissions are then reviewed by an independent panel of sustainable development experts and an overall score and star rating is assigned.

Operational performance is assessed against nine environmental impact categories. These include management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovation.

The process typically has two rounds of assessment, taking an estimated 10 weeks to complete.

As with the NABERS program, CIM has the experience and skill to assist and streamline the certification process, with data analytics from our PEAK platform easily providing rich data from your building.

What is a good Green Star rating?

The rating system starts off at one star rising to a maximum six stars, though these rating vary according to which category is assessed. The Communities, Design & As Built, Buildings, Interiors and Fit Outs range from a 4-6 Green Star rating, while the Performance category ranges from 1-6 stars.

Multiple project certification options are available for Green Star Buildings and Green Star – Design & As Built, though this must be agreed to with GBCA before registration.

How long does a certification last?

A Green Star rating lasts three years and 90 days after the date of the Performance Rating certificate. Yearly reviews are required in order to maintain a Green Star – Performance rating. Before the certified rating expires, the applicant can re-register and certify the project, to obtain an updated certified rating on the project.

What’s included in your Certification Fee?

The following items are included:
The standard certification services from GBCA
Access to a technical coordinator for your project
The certification certificate
License to use the certification trademark once certified, to promote your project
A decal recognising the Green Star certification for use in your building, precinct or fit-out for ratings 4 star and over.

Is Green Star a voluntary program?

Green Star is still a voluntary process, however, we firmly believe it won’t be long until holding premiere rating results for a building’s environmental performance will be considered mandatory by tenants.

And as consumers become increasingly aware and research savvy, it also fair to conclude businesses will seek an address with certification from programs such as Green Star and NABERS to prove their environmental chops to customers and clients.

What is the difference between Green Star and NABERS?

The key difference between the two programs is that Green Star rates the design of the building (both at the conceptual and at the 'as built' stages) while NABERS rates the effectiveness of the operation of the building (after it is built and is operational).

Regardless of which system you choose to pursue – or both, the ultimate prize comes from ensuring you have a resource-efficient and environmentally responsible building. CIM can power this with data-driven insights to maximise operational efficiency and rapidly reduce energy consumption across building portfolios.

Peak performing buildings with smaller carbon footprints achieve better sustainability ratings, meet their environmental, social and governance goals, and deliver long-term value to shareholders and tenants.

Assisting you secure a value adding internationally recognised environmental rating aside, CIM empowers owners and operators to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their portfolio to improve asset value, tenant comfort and sustainability.

See how CIM’s PEAK platform can help reduce your buildings' carbon emissions and minimise impact on the environment.

CIM Team
February 23, 2022