No two projects are ever the same, and the strategy for reaching the desired Green Star benchmarks varies from project to project.
When we dissect the respective project strategies, an appreciation of how each credit will be achieved needs to be clear, not only to the respective designer/engineer in consultation with the Green Star Accredited Professional, but also to the entire project team, including the builder, the quantity surveyor and the building owner.
For each credit, avenues for achieving compliance must be explored and reported back transparently to the project team. The reporting should clearly explain the strategy for how the project aims to achieve each credit in both design and construction.
The design phase is where the biggest decisions are made; budgets are planned and agreed, and this then flows onto the construction phase of project, where usually only relatively minor redesign occurs. Strategies must be locked down and agreed by the whole project team as early as possible. No matter the scale of a project, moving goal posts frequently and in the later project stages, changing project strategies and working with unclear credit achievement paths will increase the risk off not meeting project targets and milestones.
The project team must appreciate what it takes to achieve certain benchmarks under each credit of the Green Star system. Each credit is not merely a kit to buy and put in place. Some credits may negatively impact others, some projects play particular attention to specific categories, whilst other projects may impact on the environment and their surroundings.
It is true that some initiatives may compromise the financials of a building, such as net lettable area and car parking spaces. These need to be negotiated and agreed upon for the final plan. Some credits require a greater level of engineering or architectural design to meet compliance due to constraints or accessibility. This despite the fact that the Green Star rating system does not recognise the amount of resources required for compliance; it only awards points based on final documentation presented.
The strategy should also convey to the whole project team the reasons why particular credits will not be targeted or extra points not achieved, and should provide a short commentary referencing the project constraints, applicability, and/or budget or project goals. Some project teams may add additional commentary on the actions required to remediate these unachieved credits. This can relate to additional design initiatives outside of the current scope/budget, or an explanation of the project outcomes or processes that would have been compromised for particular points to be achieved. Not being able to achieve particular credits due to factors such as location, local government constraints and requirements, particular project scope and others issues outside of the control of the project team should not be construed negatively. Due to the nature of Green Star rating tools and how they are applied across classes of buildings, not all of the credits can be targeted and not all of the points can be achieved.
Finally, when a Green Star certification strategy is produced for the project, in order to achieve the desired outcome, the whole project team should acknowledge the agreed strategy and include it within their respective design documentation all through to construction. By being clear about the strategy and the responsibilities of the project team, each team member is then much more likely to act as required to produce the desired outcomes and in an efficient and cost effective way.