Thursday 2 July 2009: A new tool which rates the sustainabilityfeatures of multi unit residential buildings will help reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions while delivering health benefits and financial savings for building occupants.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has today released the Green Star
– Multi Unit Residential v1 environmental rating tool.
According to the Chief Executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew, the new Green Star tool will “enable building owners and developers to minimise the environmental impacts of their developments and receive recognition for more environmentally sustainable design.”
The announcement comes in the wake of the Council of Australian Governments’ move towards increasing the energy efficiency requirements of the Australian Building Code and moving to a minimum six star energy efficiency ratings for all new Australian homes.
“Residential buildings in Australia are responsible for 13 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and Australia’s level of emissions per home is one of the highest in the world. The new Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool will help to reduce our emissions and support new stringent energy efficiency requirements in the Building Code of Australia,” Ms Madew says.
The Green Star - Multi Unit Residential v1 tool is applicable to new multi unit residential facilities, and extensions to and major refurbishments of existing multi unit residential facilities of two units or more, provided they meet Green Star eligibility criteria.
The tool has undergone a rigorous assessment period after a pilot phase, and refinements to the calculators and credits have already received positive feedback from industry, Ms Madew says.
The first Green Star – Multi Unit Residential PILOT certification was awarded to
‘The Summer’ in Western Australia, for its 4 Star Green Star development, representing ‘best practice’.
“The Summer will incorporate an extensive range of environmental design techniques to effectively reuse around 80 per cent of the site waste, provide over
90 per cent of apartments with dual aspect to allow natural ventilation, and include energy efficient appliances and rainwater storage. This project clearly
demonstrates that best practice in sustainability can go hand-in-hand with good design aesthetics,” Ms Madew says.
The Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool has many credits in common with the other Green Star tools but also includes a number of credits specific to the multi unit residential sector. These sector specific credits address a number of issues that are particular to multi unit residential buildings such as energy and water efficiency of appliances, control of lights and air conditioning in unoccupied spaces, universal design and the provision of communal facilities.
The Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool also includes a customised energy calculator. While the Green Star – Office suite of rating tools incorporates energy modeling consistent with the NABERS Energy tool, an equivalent modeling protocol did not exist for the multi unit residential sector.
The Energy ‘Conditional Requirement’ in the Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool is to be a uniform 10 per cent above the minimum thermal performance requirements established by regulation in each state. This approach acknowledges the current regulated minimums across the country. It also allows state jurisdictions to amend their regulations and adjust their benchmarks, with the Green Star benchmark changing accordingly. This approach uses existing documentation and energy modelling in all jurisdictions other than the Northern Territory, where there are no current minimum thermal performance requirements
“The tool will also provide state and local governments with a framework for planning guidelines and development incentives,” Ms Madew says.
“While the Green Building Council of Australia does not advocate Green Star as a mandatory regulation tool, it does encourage Green Star as a support mechanism for incentives, and the GBCA is currently in discussion with a number of authorities on how to apply the Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool to the allocation of bonus floor areas, fast assessment of development applications and cash incentives for green developments.
“We are confident that the Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 tool will deliver a single third party certification that the residential market can understand and trust, and that property developers can use to demonstrate their development’s green credentials,” Ms Madew concludes.
The Green Star – Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool is freely available for download from the GBCA website, as well as for independent third party accredited assessment. For more information, visit the GBCA website:
About Green Star
The Green Building Council of Australia launched the Green Star environmental rating system for buildings in 2003. Green Star, which is recognised as Australia’s national environmental rating system, evaluates the green initiatives
of building projects based on a number of criteria, including energy and water
efficiency, indoor environment quality and resource conservation