Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Restrictions on 'Design' ratings strengthen Green Star

I will keep this short, with a pointer to the recent announcement by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

From 1 January 2013, Green Star – Design ratings will be valid for two years, as the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) introduces time restrictions to strengthen the robustness of Australia’s environmental rating system for buildings.

The significance of this initiative by the industry based voluntary ratings organisation cannot be overstated.  Probably the most strident and valid criticism of LEED from the USA, and its derivatives like GreenStar in Australia, has been that they created a marketing tool of 'proposed' high performance, without ever delivering any checks and balances to expose under-performance of rated buildings.  This latest announcement addresses that criticism.

Of course, issues remain related to the balance and value assigned to different parts of these 'multi-indicator' ratings schemes.  Because they simply total up credit points, they can still let you get good ratings even while your building scores poorly on some aspect of sustainable performance.  

But given that the GBCA is demonstrating by this initiative its willingness to eliminate abuse and confusion in ratings, I can foresee that they are very likely to tackle other big issues sooner rather than later.  OK, let's just say that in the context of how slowly market transformation towards genuinely more sustainable buildings actually occurs, the GBCA seems to be acting both quickly and with surprising rigour.  I have to revise my standard lectures on rating schemes!!  

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