Small Steps that Make a Big Difference

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
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Ambitious, disruptive sustainability initiatives may win the big headlines, but small steps can make a big difference too.

We regularly applaud the game changers. In the last month, St.George achieved the first Green Star rating for a bank branch, Mirvac demonstrated how good design can be elevated in operation after increasing its Green Star rating for the Sirius building, and Lendlease bagged an unprecedented Green Star score for Barangaroo South.

These are all worthy achievements, but sometimes we forget to celebrate the incremental innovations that happen behind the scenes, but that deliver long-lasting results.

Our commitment to Green Star’s evolution means we are always on the lookout for ways to make it easier and more cost-effective for industry to achieve.

This evolution has been driven by industry feedback and participation.

Over the last few years, we’ve focused on reducing documentation requirements so that project teams can spend more time innovating and less time on paperwork.

We’ve introduced submission templates that replace short reports, early design ratings and compliance pathways to streamline the Green Star assessment process.

Our Green Star Recognised Provider program is another commitment to deliver more value.

Recognised Providers are technical experts who have a rigorous quality assurance process in place, and are audited regularly by us to ensure their standards are maintained. We trust and verify their expertise in certain areas of Green Star, and so don’t require as much documentation in submissions from them.

We currently have two Recognised Providers – Wood & Grieve Engineers and Arup – with more working through the process  now.

Wood & Grieve Engineers has been validated for its expertise with greenhouse gas emissions and peak electricity demand reduction. WGE’s Phil Cook says the process helped his team improve its quality assurance processes, and deliver better value to clients.

“We think becoming a Recognised Provider has really improved the efficiency of what we do,” he said. “We are spending less time writing big reports, and more time value-adding for our clients by analysing different solutions, and providing clear options.”

Arup’s skills in greenhouse gas emissions, peak electricity demand reduction and thermal comfort have also been validated. Principal Haico Schepers says the Recognised Provider process makes it simpler and more cost-effective for the industry to achieve Green Star ratings.

“It removes redundant paperwork, simplifies Round 1 and 2 response and return issues, and better aligns Green Star with design and construction process,” Schepers said. “Being a Recognised Provider means we now have more time to work on innovative design solutions, while giving our clients assurance that these designs can be certified rapidly.”

While this initiative may not be headline-worthy, not everything we do needs to be ground-breaking. Sometimes by tackling the small stuff, we can have a massive, measurable impact over the long haul. A gradual evolution where tiny tweaks build on each other can build momentum and set the stage for the next round of great disruptors.

So, what are the small impact ideas you are implementing in your own organisations?

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