Public Comment

Green Star – coming to a home near you

Green Star ratings are coming to Australian homes, with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) announcing a draft Green Star Homes Standard for consultation.

Part of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Future Homes Strategy, the initiative is intended to drive transformation in the residential sector to create a market for healthier, more resilient, energy-efficient homes.

GBCA CEO Davina Rooney says the standard will lift the bar on current regulatory settings and proposes an ambitious suite of minimum criteria.

“To achieve Green Star certification, as a minimum, homes will need double-glazed windows and doors, air filtration and LED lighting, good access to daylight in living areas and bedrooms, sufficient renewable energy generation to support the home’s operations, and no fossil fuel use,” Rooney says.

Other criteria include adequate ventilation and filtration to minimise the entry of pollutants such as bushfire smoke. Green Star homes will need to be thermally comfortable, and built to minimise their contribution to the urban heat island effect.

The GBCA notes that, across Australia, 40 per cent of energy is used to heat and cool homes, with the majority going to the heating of homes during winter. Accordingly, the standard will also establish criteria for airtightness and insulation.

The standard is being developed collaboratively with consultation and input from industry, consumers, builders, banks, investors and insurers.

To achieve widespread change at scale, the standard is primarily targeted at volume home builders and large-scale residential developers. It has already received strong support from these stakeholders.

Stockland, Mirvac, Metricon and Rawson Homes, along with Chatham Homes, Passive House, Landcom and Development Victoria have all committed to piloting the new draft standard through the early access program.

“As Australia’s largest residential developer, we are passionate about creating liveable, connected and sustainable communities across the country,” says Stockland Group Executive and CEO Communities Andrew Whitson.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Green Building Council to deliver one of the first new Green Star Homes in the country as part of the Early Access program. This program will make an important contribution to the delivery of sustainable new homes now and into the future.”

The standard enables builders to seek certification for an entire standard home product line as Green Star Designed. Built homes that have been tested and are compliant with the requirements of the standard can be Green Star Certified.

Rooney says the standard is focused on delivering health benefits to residents as well as future-proofing Australia’s residential sector.

“Working in partnership with builders, financiers and investors, we want to help ensure the next generation of Australian homes are built to better withstand natural disasters, cope with a changing climate and lessen the built environment’s contribution to emissions,” Rooney says.

“By significantly lifting the standard to which new homes are designed and built we can dramatically improve health and wellbeing while at the same time lowering energy bills and helping to meet our emissions-reduction commitments.

“Drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic have all underscored how vital it is to have more resilient housing that better protects the health of residents and the planet.”

Consultation on the draft standard will run until October 30, 2020. To read the standard and provide feedback, click here.

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