Green Building Schemes

GECA’s New Green Star Recognised Standards Can Help Australia to Build Back Better

Buildings and the construction industry in Australia have a significant environmental footprint, including waste generation, water consumption, energy usage and greenhouse emissions. Building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. GECA is thrilled to announce Green Star recognition for six new standards, which make it easier for architects and other building professionals to select products and materials that are better for people and planet.

Launched by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in 2003, Green Star is Australia’s only national, voluntary rating system for buildings and communities. A Green Star rating provides independent verification that a building or community project is sustainable across all stages of the built environment lifecycle.

The newly recognised GECA standards include:

  • Building Insulation Materials
  • Cement, Concrete and Concrete Products
  • Steel and Steel Products
  • Recycled Products
  • Waste Collection Services
  • Sustainable Products and Services (Lifecycle Assessment Based)

GECA licensees certified under these standards will be rewarded for demonstrating their ongoing commitment to having a lower environmental, health and social impact!

“We congratulate GECA on achieving Green Star recognition for six new standards, as well as approval of revisions to existing furniture standards. GECA now has 22 standards that contribute towards buildings and fitouts achieving Green Star credits – this is a remarkable achievement,” said Nicole Sullivan, Senior Manager – Green Star Solutions.

The recent bush fires and the current pandemic have further highlighted the need for a new era that celebrates the benefits of building with sustainability in mind. Green Star-certified buildings and communities can lower operating costs and increase asset value, use less electricity, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, consume less water, boost productivity, improve the health and wellbeing of occupants and much more.

GECA’s standards provide the building industry with an independent, reliable and credible way to source products and materials for their Green Star projects. We’ve developed our rigorous standards, following ISO 14024 principles and ISEAL frameworks for global best practice in ecolabelling, which are then independently assessed by our Assurance Providers.

“Our newly recognised standards promote best practice in areas that we know are of great impact on the environment,” said Michelle Thomas, GECA CEO. “For example, the production of a tonne of steel generates almost two tonnes of carbon emissions, accounting for as much as 5 per cent of the world’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. Cement is the source of about 8 per cent of the world’s emissions. Our standards place clear restrictions on carbon emissions, helping the industry to reduce its impact.”

GECA will continue to develop standards that are rigorous, scientific and relevant to key Australian industries as part of its commitment to offering sustainable solutions for consumption and production.

“We look forward to continuing to work with GECA toward a more sustainable future,” said Sullivan.

Thanks @Kendall
BIA -Environmental Management question on Green Building Standards.

Blockquote What percentage of company facilities (by area, both owned by company or leased) is certified to meet the requirements of an accredited green building program?> Blockquote
Is there any clarification as to what constitutes as an ‘accredited green building program’ in Australia. Is Green Start by GECA accredited with B Lab ANZ?
Also there is the National Australian Built Environment Rating System- who is partnered with climate active. Is NABERS accredited or recognised for the purpose of this BIA question?

Many thanks in advance

Hi @natalie!

So just to clarify at GECA, we are a purpose-driven not-for-profit that stands for integrity, independence, and impact. We’ve proudly be a Certified B Corp since 2015 :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Our mission is to create solutions for sustainable consumption and production. To achieve this, we offer a suite of services designed for anyone committed to continuous improvement in their sustainability, including Australia’s only not-for-profit multi-sector ecolabelling program.

Following ISO 14024 principles and ISEAL frameworks for global best practice in lifecycle-based ecolabelling, we’ve developed our rigorous voluntary standards, which are then independently assessed by our Assurance Providers.

Each standard considers the impacts of a product or service across its entire lifecycle – and includes environmental, human health, social and fit for purpose criteria. Our robust standards are relevant to critical Australian industries, and GECA is the only Australian member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).

While we certify against a broad range of standards, regional leadership in the built environment has been a driver behind many of our products and services.

As you saw in our update above, many GECA certified products are appropriate for building interiors, for example, furniture, carpets, panel boards, adhesives, steel and cement, and are recognised by various building schemes (see a summary of a few key schemes below).

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) has a really useful list of rating tools administered by their Green Building Councils and they also published a Quality Assurance Guide for Green Building Rating Tools.

  • Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star is Australia’s only national and voluntary rating system for buildings and communities. We were the first ecolabel to be recognised under the rating system, and many of our standards are eligible for credit points toward Green Star projects.

  • Infrastructure Council of Australia (ISCA) is a member-based, not-for-profit industry council working to advance sustainability in infrastructure planning, procurement, delivery and operation through its IS rating scheme. The scheme recognises GECA as an environmental labelling body and therefore rewards project proponents who source GECA certified products and are seeking an IS Certification.

  • The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) measures and rates an existing buildings’ impact on the environment, and GECA certification aligns with their Office (Indoor Air Quality) rating. In 2018, NABERS launched a whole building waste rating tool for offices. Through the Better Building Partnership, GECA and NABERS have worked closely together to align the waste rating tool with GECA’s Waste Collection Services standard.

  • International Well Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard is an up and coming certification in big demand in Australia and increasingly throughout Asia. It focuses on health and wellness.

  • The Living Building Challenge was created by the International Living Future Institute, which is represented in Australia by the Living Future Institute Australia (LFIA). To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

I hope that helps! Don’t hesitate to reach out again if any needs further clarification :slightly_smiling_face:

@Kendall thank you so much for providing this comprehensive overview. I’m sure it will help many people navigate this question with more confidence.
:construction_worker_man: :brick: :building_construction: :herb:

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