NZ: Updated Green Star Tool for Schools

A re-vamped Green Star tool for education buildings was unveiled today, making it simpler for many projects to gain ratings for sustainability.

The Green Star Education tool has been in use since 2009, with more than 20 education buildings rated throughout New Zealand. Green Star rates all types of education buildings, including daycare centres, schools and tertiary institutes.

Following in-depth consultation with industry and other stakeholders, the updated tool brings several changes, reducing the requirements particularly for smaller projects.

The revised tool was unveiled to industry today (subs: 8 May) at a launch at Stonefields School in Auckland, which was rated 5 Green Star in 2012. Guests had a tour of the school, and watched a video on key aspects of the revised tool.

Green Star considers a number of environmental attributes, including energy and water use, materials, indoor environment quality, land use & ecology, emissions, transport and building management – including ease of maintenance.

The revision updates the requirements for different types of school buildings, making it simpler for small projects in particular to achieve ratings. For example, it no longer requires naturally ventilated buildings of 2,500m2 and smaller to undertake energy modelling, provided energy efficient features are incorporated into the design. Transport points are also easier to obtain, with a wider range of initiatives, such as walking school buses, recognised.

Publicly-funded school buildings projects are incentivised by the Ministry of Education to get Green Star ratings, in recognition of the positive impact that high-performing buildings have on staff and student health and wellbeing, as well as their improved asset value. The Ministry has funded the review and re-launch of the Green Star Education tool.

New Zealand Green Building Council Chief Executive Alex Cutler said the review and re-launch of the tool had been a very thorough technical process.

“After five years in the market, it’s a good time to review and update the tool to ensure it’s as relevant as possible, and working well for schools and industry. We’re very happy with the revision and immensely grateful to the Ministry of Education for its support, as well as the many people who have had input into the process.

“Learning environments that are comfortable and well-designed with good levels of natural light and fresh air, are hugely beneficial for both students and staff. They also cost less to run and maintain. There are already many schools benefiting from Green Star, and we look forward to there being even more.”

Ms Cutler also thanked RDT Pacific and Opus International Consultants, both of whom have sponsored the review.

A handbook for schools, videos on the new Green Star education tool and a summary of the changes, are available on the New Zealand Green Building Council website – www.nzgbc.org.nz

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