A growing awareness of the impact that we have on our planet is nothing new. We’ve been hearing about global warming and climate change for decades now.
To reduce the impact on the planet of the building process and the finished product itself, the industry has started to transform the way we design and build, to help reduce our carbon footprint.
As well as being less harmful to our environment, “Green” buildings will improve the health and well-being of our people now and into the future.
In this article, we explore the Green Star building ratings and why Orb has become a member of the Green Star Buildings of New Zealand.
What is Green Star?
Green Star certification is a sustainability rating system for construction that provides an independent assessment of how a building meets the benchmarked standard for sustainable and lower-carbon design and build projects.
Ratings apply to every commercial building type such as schools, medical facilities, offices, shopping centres and industrial buildings.
The New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) governs the Green Star ratings in Aotearoa and is internationally recognised, created by Green Building Council Australia and adapted for New Zealand.
Their vision is for homes and buildings across Aotearoa that are green and sustainable.
NZGBC is a member of the World Green Building Council and part of the Asia Pacific Network of Green Building Councils.
What are the key drivers of Green Star buildings?
Buildings and their construction account for approximately 20% of all New Zealand’s emissions.
Over the past couple of decades, the realisation of climate change has driven global changes in thinking regarding reducing our emissions and carbon footprint. Preserving our planet’s natural resources has become more of a priority.
Therefore, an underlying factor behind a shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly building design and construction is a growing awareness and understanding of the impact of a building on the environment.
Designed to be environmentally sustainable, Green Star buildings utilise materials and methods that reduce their impact on the planet. They also provide cost savings due to lower utility costs for the occupier over time, which can offset costs for a property owner by increasing the property value.
Because of the way Green Star buildings are designed and constructed, they’re far better insulated and provide occupants with a healthier and more comfortable living and working environment.
How to achieve a Green Star rating
If you’re aiming for a Green Star rating on a building, there are a few key things to consider.
Primarily, Green Star involves using environmentally friendly materials and construction practices to build sustainable buildings. Energy-efficient systems and implementing waste reduction strategies are also important drivers of Green Star buildings.
To achieve a Green Star ranking, a builder must prioritise sustainability in aspects such as:
- Eco-friendly materials
- Implementing energy-efficient systems
- Minimise waste whenever possible
- Consider the location of a building and its impact on the surrounding environment.
A Green Star building must track and document these components.
Points are awarded for specific criteria, and the total number of points awarded decides the final Green Star rating.
How does the Green Star certification process work?
The Green Star certification process is managed by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and awarded by an independent, third-party assessor.
Points are awarded across various categories to rate a building’s performance and environmental impact.
A four-star rating is the minimum standard, requiring 45 points. A five-star ranking is deemed New Zealand excellence, and a six-star Green Star building demonstrates world leadership.
These benchmarks for each of these standards are revised over time as requirements are increased. This means a building awarded a six-star rating in 2015 is unlikely to achieve the same rating in 2023.
The NZGBC specifies six steps for achieving a Green Star ranking.
- Engage A Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP)
- Ensure the project fulfils the eligibility requirements
- Register and pay
- Design and submission
Why Orb became a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council
We believe in proving sustainable building products that improve lives and stand the test of time.
That’s why Orb Property Consultants is now a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council, demonstrating our commitment to green building practices in New Zealand.
As a project manager, it’s important to take the lead in this area and engage a team of consultants and contractors who can deliver on such a project by ensuring they’re highly skilled in green and sustainable building practices.
It’s time to embrace a greener future.
Thanks for reading.
Orb Property Consultants are a client-side project management company based in Hamilton, New Zealand.