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Green Star rating – what it means

28 October 2019

The Green Star rating, launched by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in 2003, is an internationally recognised sustainability rating system. It has been adopted as a sign of quality for the design, construction and running of sustainable buildings, redevelopments, businesses and communities.

The Green Star rating assesses the sustainability of projects at all stages from the drawing designs, construction process and build right through to the interior fit out, energy monitoring and waste management.

Given that the C&D industry generates more than 40% of waste in Australia, Green Star has been established to help transform the way in which we design, build and operate. According to the Green Building Council of Australia, ‘Green Star offers a framework of best practice and benchmarks for sustainability that you and the marketplace can trust’.

Green Star rating scale

The Green Star rating ranges from 1-6 with 6 being the maximum (World leadership). Green Star rating can be awarded for 5 different projects:

  • Design
  • As Built
  • Interiors
  • Communities
  • Performance

Only the Performance rating tool can achieve a Green Star rating of 1-6, the others (Design, As Built, Interiors and Communities) can achieve a Green Star of 4, 5 or 6.

What does each Green Star rating mean?

1 = Minimum practice

2 = Average practice

3 = Good practice

4 = Best practice

5 = Australian excellence

6 = World leadership

The benefits of a Green Star rating

While obtaining Green Star certification is voluntary, it does come with a range of benefits. The GBCA states that Green Star-certified builds and operations can:

  • Lower operating costs and increase asset value 
  • Use substantially less electricity than average buildings in urban Australia
  • Use more than 50% less potable water than if they had been built to meet minimum industry requirements 
  • Boost productivity by up to 15%
  • Produce 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average Australian buildings
  • Improve the health and wellbeing of occupants 
  • Increase student learning and engagement 
  • Speed up recovery times of hospital patients 
  • Reduce risk and ‘future proof’ investments 
  • Deliver a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace 

The Green Star rating is available for all building types and is simple and cost-effective to achieve.

Those applying for Green Star rating are assessed against a number of environmental impact categories. These include:

  • Management
  • Indoor Environment Quality
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Innovation
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Land Use and Ecology
  • Emissions

How to apply for Green Star rating

There are 5 steps in the Green Star certification process.

  1. Register your project online by visiting the GBCA.
  2. As design and construction begins documentation will need to be collected that shows how the project meets the Green Star sustainability benchmarks.
  3. Submit all documentation to the GBCA for assessment.
  4. An independent panel of sustainability experts will review submissions and assign a score.
  5. A Green Star rating is awarded.

To find out more or to discuss a potential project and its eligibility for Green Star rating visit the Green Building Council of Australia website.


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