The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has announced the introduction of carbon zero buildings. GBCA released new versions of the Green Star Interiors rating tools in an attempt to increase the use of low-carbon buildings.
The key changes to Green Star include:
- Minimum requirements for greenhouse gas emissions for 5 and 6 star Green Star buildings
- Measures to build industry capacity in air-tightness testing
- A new materials pathway to encourage the use of sustainably-sourced structural timber
- New requirements to enhance the health and wellbeing of construction workers
GBCA’s head of market transformation Jorge Chapa says that even though the changes might seem small on paper, they will go a long way in bringing attention to sustainable buildings.
“While some of these changes are small, they will continue to build capacity and drive innovation in sustainable design and construction,” says Jorge.
Minimum requirements for greenhouse gas emissions:
Minimum requirements have changed for greenhouse gas emissions with a 5 Star Green Star certification now required to receive three Green Star points in the ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ credit as well as being 25% more efficient than a benchmark building. Similarly with a 6 Star Green Star building, it must get a minimum of six points and show efficiency equal to 40% above the benchmark.
“Our analysis has found that 95% of Green Star-certified projects meet these criteria, so it’s not a big change at the moment. However, it sends a signal to the market that we are prioritising carbon. We expect to strengthen these requirements further over time,” says Jorge.
There has also been changes to the ‘Commissioning and Tuning’ to make air-tightness testing more appealing. A new ‘Air Permeability Performance Testing’ requirement is a core aspect of the credit, which gives two points.
A new pathway has been laid out that encourages the use of structural timber. Initially, the intention was to give attention to engineered timber, like Cross-Laminated Timber and glulam, but after the feedback was so positive, the credit was extended to include all sustainably-sourced structural timber.
Enhancing the workplaces of construction workers
‘Responsible Construction Practices’ is the replacement name for ‘Construction Environmental Management’ with a new point available for teams that are able to show high quality staff support through health and wellbeing programs.
Registration under the original versions of the rating tools will be accepted until 30 September.