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The New Zealand Green Building Council
(NZGBC) was founded a little over 10 years
ago, by a small group of visionary property
and construction professionals. Now with
more than 400 member organisations,
the NZGBC works to ensure that all New
Zealanders live, work and play in safe,
healthy and efficient buildings.
At the end of November, we’ll be launching
a brand new rating tool for buildings, which
will encompass a range of categories from
energy and water use to green cleaning.
Buildings have numerous environmental
impacts. Construction waste makes up
around half of landfill. Buildings consume
significant amounts of energy and water. In NZ
commercial buildings use just over 20 per cent
of our electricity, costing businesses around
NZ$800million a year. Worldwide, buildings
produce more than a third of climate change
pollution, however this is less in New Zealand
because of our cleaner electricity mix.
Initially, reducing the environmental
impacts of buildings was the primary driver
of the NZGBC.
In parallel to this, an equally significant
driver for green building has emerged:
occupant health, wellbeing and productivity.
Recent research supports that green
buildings, through their provision of fresh
air, non-toxic materials and access to daylight
and views, reduce the number of employee
sick days and improve staff productivity.
Green Star was launched in NZ market
10 years ago to provide a benchmarking
tool and independent validation process to
recognise projects pushing the boundaries
and pursuing excellence in sustainable
design and construction.
With Green Star incentivising improvement
in design and construction, there has been a
significant change in the construction sector
in NZ. Positive outcomes include pushing
the boundaries of energy efficiency, greater
availability of green-certified products and
materials, increasing awareness around the
negative health impacts of Volatile Organic
Compounds and waste contractors who
have significantly modified their operational
practices. With significant developers
committed to delivering Green Star certified
projects, the wheels of change are turning for
our new buildings.
But what of our existing buildings?
Many are energy and water hungry, don’t
meet modern standards for lighting and
thermal comfort, lack facilities to support
commuting, and often contain hazardous
materials hidden in plain sight. And they
need to be active contributors if we are to
meet the Paris Agreement targets.
On 29 November, the NZGBC will
launch Green Star Performance. This is
a new tool that successfully marries the
benefits of efficiency with the necessity for a
comfortable, healthy indoor environment.
Green Star Performance is a holistic tool
able to rate existing buildings, of any age and
type, according to how they are performing
across eight categories: Management, Indoor
Environment Quality, Energy, Transport,
Materials, Land Use & Ecology, Emissions
In addition to looking at energy and water
efficiency, criteria within the framework looks
at green cleaning, procurement and purchasing
and operational waste. Where product and
materials suppliers and manufacturers were
keen to jump on board with Green Star for new
construction, Green Star Performance provides
the means for service providers within the
property sector to market themselves as leaders
in the provision of services that support healthy
indoor environments, help to reduce operational
waste to landfill, and source consumables that
are environmentally responsible.
The Green Cleaning component of the
Green Star Performance rating tool looks firstly
at whether there is a Green Cleaning Policy in
place for the building or portfolio of buildings.
This policy outlines the goals and objectives,
implementation procedures and strategies,
environmental performance measurements, and
quality assurance for ongoing improvement.
Selection of environmentally responsible
cleaning products and equipment,
minimisation of cleaning product usage,
equipment maintenance and personnel
requirements all need to be considered.
Secondly, buildings owners are rewarded for
the area of the building(s) where this green
cleaning policy is implemented – whether
this be just the common areas or all occupied
and tenanted areas of the building.
Similarly, there is a groundskeeping credit
within the rating tool which looks at what
maintenance practices are carried out in the
landscaped areas, and to the hard surfaces
and building exterior. Building exterior and
hardscape area management procedures
must employ best practice maintenance
practices that significantly reduce harmful
chemical use, energy waste, water waste, air
pollution, and solid waste or chemical runoff,
when compared with standard practices.
Green Star Performance has been designed
with building portfolio owners in mind, and
ratings are able to be improved upon over
time. We can’t allow our existing buildings to
fall behind, let’s ensure that all the buildings
we occupy provide healthy environments
while reducing their environmental footprint.
Green Star cleaning
The New Zealand Green Building Council will launch its new Green Star Performance tool this month, which
will include a Green Cleaning component. NZGBC’s technical manager Andrea Davison, explains.
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