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Green Building FAQs

All Australians can be green at home, regardless of budget. It could be in the living room, in the garden or installing a rainwater tank, there are simple changes you can make that will reduce your energy bills and your environmental impact. Take a tour around green home to see what opportunities exist for you to make your home sustainability.

Green Building and Stars energy rating is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings and, with 11 per cent of Australia’s CBD residential homes and commercial office buildings Green Star certified, building green is now a business imperative.

Green Star was developed for the property industry in order to:

  • Establish a common language;
  • Set a standard measurement for green buildings;
  • Promote integrated, whole-buildings design;
  • Recognise environmental leadership;
  • Identify building life-cycle impact;
  • Raise awareness of green building benefits.

Click on questions below to view the answers

What Are the Economic Benefits of Green Buildings?

A green building may cost more up front, but saves through lower operating costs over the life of the building. The green building approach applies a project life cycle cost analysis for determining the appropriate up-front expenditure. This analytical method calculates costs over the useful life of the asset. These and other cost savings can only be fully realized when they are incorporated at the project’s conceptual design phase with the assistance of an integrated team of professionals. The integrated systems approach ensures that the building is designed as one system rather than a collection of stand-alone systems. Some benefits, such as improving occupant health, comfort, productivity, reducing pollution and landfill waste are not easily quantified. Consequently, they are not adequately considered in cost analysis. For this reason, consider setting aside a small portion of the building budget to cover differential costs associated with less tangible green building benefits or to cover the cost of researching and analysing green building options. Even with a tight budget, many green building measures can be incorporated with minimal or zero increased up-front costs and they can yield enormous savings.

Building Operation and Maintenance

Green building measures cannot achieve their goals unless they work as intended. Building commissioning includes testing and adjusting the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to ensure that all equipment meets design criteria. It also includes instructing the staff on the operation and maintenance of equipment. Over time, building performance can be assured through measurement, adjustment, and upgrading. Proper maintenance ensures that a building continues to perform as designed and commissioned.

Steps to Ensure Success

  • Establish a vision that embraces sustainable principles and an integrated design approach.
  • Develop a clear statement of the project’s vision, goals, design criteria, and priorities.
  • Develop a project budget that covers green building measures. Allocate contingencies for additional research and analysis of specific options. Seek sponsorship or grant opportunities.
  • Seek advice of a design professional with green building experience.
  • Select a design and construction team that is committed to the project vision. Modify the RFQ/RFP selection process to ensure the contractors have appropriate qualifications to identify, select, and implement an integrated system of green building measures.
  • Develop a project schedule that allows for systems testing and commissioning.
  • Develop contract plans and specifications to ensure that the building design is at a suitable level of building performance.
  • Create effective incentives and oversight.

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