Established in 2002, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is an important authority and certifier of sustainable buildings, communities and cities within Australia.
Setting out to create healthy, resilient and positive places for people and the natural environment, the GBCA has started to take strides in recent years.
Green Star is the name of their sustainability accreditation and since its last revision in 2014, has risen from 646 Green Star certified projects to over 1,750 today.
The GBCA are current in talks for another revision that will implement a new phase of Green Star, which will endure to the year 2025. This will comprise of six dedicated focuses and a range of outcomes that new developments will be required to reach. Some examples of which are;
- Meet greenhouse gas emissions targets in line with the 1.5°C trajectory as set out in the Paris Agreement.
- Assets will need to use 100% renewable energy and preferably have on-site, or access to precinct scale, solar and energy storage solutions. All emissions, including embodied carbon, will need to be reduced and offset.
- Green Star benchmarks for ecology, biodiversity, transport, health and wellbeing will be increased.
As the demand for environmentally sustainable and ethical property developments rises, accreditations such as the Green Star can add significant value to new development sites for sale.
Tangible and intangible benefits
There are a multitude of benefits to looking at a development site more sustainably.
The global environmental agenda is a significant driving force in provoking community awareness. Reducing the ecological footprint and carbon emissions of the built environment has become an expectation of developers by buyers.
There is also greater recognition and understanding of the influence of environment quality on workplace health and productivity. Accreditations such as the WELL Building Standards are reinforcing the health and well-being impacts of developments.
The department of Environment and Climate Change NSW acknowledges that the green development industry faces some difficulty in measuring and promoting the value created by the more intangible aspects of sustainability, such as:
- Impact on corporate reputation
- Capacity to attract ethical funding
- Savings associated with retention of valued staff or attraction of more progressive staff due to an organisation’s proven sustainability record
The GBCA is assisting new developments to develop the capability to quantify the drivers for environmentally conscious developments. As these drivers are monetised and recognised and more widely in their importance, we’ll see accreditations such as Green Star and WELL evolve to standard practice.