Green Performance – Not Just for the Rich & Famous

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Thursday, April 28th, 2016
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The Green Star Performance Rating Tool is part of the suite of tools released by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The key advantage of this rating system, compared to the commonly recognised Design and As Built rating system, is that it can be applied to existing buildings in operation. This means it is possible to gain a rating based on current attributes, management policies and the quantity of resources required to operate the building.

Considering the fluid nature of building operations, a Green Star rating is valid for three years. The project team must therefore maintain the rating by submitting information relating to the building’s energy and water usage (as applicable) at months 12 and 24.

If the building’s energy and water usage decreases significantly after the rating is achieved, it is still possible to increase the Star rating within the three-year period. If, however, energy and water usage increases, then the project may lose a Star within that rating period. As such, the building management team must continuously monitor the building’s energy and operational performance, aligning to best practice building management standards.

Unlike the Design and As Built rating system, you do not need a new construction or the undertaking of major refurbishment works for your building to be recognised for its environmental qualities and obtain a Green Star Performance certification. This means that as an owner of an existing, non-premium or less than A-grade building, you can still obtain certification for your property.

The Green Star Performance Rating Tool recognises and awards buildings that operate in relation to their performance requirements and design intent. Following the commissioning and handover stages, this rating tool will help to ensure that building systems remain operationally efficient and continue to provide a comfortable space for the building’s occupants, even during further building works such as fitouts, tenancy churns and minor system upgrades.

For example, building tuning can enable existing buildings to meet and exceed their performance expectations. This process addresses building controls, with specialist commissioning techniques applied to rectify any systems inefficiencies and improve overall building system performance. Green Star Performance points are then awarded when the systems have been reviewed and rectified against their performance benchmarks.

Building upgrades don’t always have to include new equipment purchases or building system adjustments/installations. Upgrades can be made to policies and procedures for environmental management, green cleaning, sustainable procurement, waste management, biodiversity and grounds keeping. These policies and procedures can be introduced during the performance period, and, when evidenced, further points can then be claimed.

For example, should a sustainable procurement plan be put in place during the performance period, the building owner can then demonstrate that a percentage of consumables – such as HVAC system filters, paints, detergents, light bulbs – were procured during this time, and can subsequently be awarded with the appropriate points towards a Green Star Performance rating.

It is recommended that a gap analysis be undertaken on any building wishing to achieve a Green Star performance rating. A Green Star accredited professional can assist with this process. Alternatively, confident facility/building managers can conduct their own gap analysis on their managed properties, and assess the potential of those building for Green Star performance ratings. The outcomes can then be presented to the building owner. This will assist facility/building managers with achieving optimal systems management and operation whilst also benefitting the building owner through the meeting of performance benchmarks and ensuring ongoing tenant comfort.

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