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Green Star (Australia)

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New and renovated public buildings in the City will soon be able to apply for star ratings to show how environmentally friendly they are.

The rating tool, known as Green Star, is to be developed by the Green Building Council, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at encouraging green building practices.

City of Sydney Council unanimously agreed to $25,000 sponsorship for development of the rating tool at its last council meeting.

Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said the Council’s sponsorship was “in pursuit of our goal to be an environmental leader.”

“As a sponsor, the City may be able to obtain a free Green Star pilot rating for our new Surry Hills Library and Community Centre, now under construction,” she said.

Spokesperson for the Green Building Council, Emma Piper, confirmed that sponsors of the Green Star tool are able to submit projects for a pilot rating. “However, this will not be decided until the end of the total development,” she said.

Green Star rating tools already exist for exist for new office buildings and office design. Ms Piper said the office rating tools had resulted in positive outcomes. “There are currently over 600 commercial office projects registered for a Green Star rating, with a further 55 projects achieving a green star certification,” she said.

“This time last year there were only 260 projects registered and 30 projects certified so the growth over the past twelve months has been amazing.”

Green Star is a points-based system that rates buildings across a range of “environmental impact” categories, Ms Piper said. The categories include indoor environment quality, energy, water, materials, land use, emissions and innovation. Projects can be awarded a four, five or six Green Star rating.

The Green Building Council has awarded the first six star Green Star ratings in the ACT, NSW, QLD and SA in the last six months.

Ms Piper said the Green Star certified projects have shown, on average, a reduction in energy use of up to 85% and a reduction in water use of over 60%. They “diverted 69% of waste away from landfill” with a “reduction in emissions equivalent to removing 3250 cars permanently off the road,” she said.

The Green Star rating tool for public buildings will be developed by a member-only committee of the Green Building Council, consisting of engineering, architecture, and indoor environment quality experts, as well as industry and government representatives.

Ms Piper said this stage takes approximately 14 weeks and that once developed, the rating tool will be available for public review and piloting. During this time, expected to last at least 90 days, City of Sydney Council, as a sponsor, can apply to have a pilot project assessed.

– Linda Daniele

*First published in City Hub, May 5, 2008 and City News, May 10, 2008.