When the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002, Australia’s buildings and cities were more grey than Green. But a revolution was soon underway, and from the boardroom to the drawing board to the construction site, people were already thinking about how to meet the best practice sustainability benchmarks set by the GBCA’s newly introduced Green Star rating system.
Before Green Star shot into the market in 2003, the industry had no agreed metrics or methodology to measure Green building practices, with few assessment tools and benchmarks for best practice. There was no organised approach to knowledge sharing or collaboration. Nor was there any way for the industry to promote or profit from Green building leadership. Developers could continue to build in the ‘old way’ with no threat of market backlash, simply because there was no easy way to identify the alternative.
The first rating tools released to the market were for the design, construction and interior fit outs of offices. Within a few short years, rating tools for education and healthcare facilities, shopping centres and industrial developments had been launched.
The industry created Green Star because it recognised that if sustainability in the built environment could not be measured, it could not be managed. Green Star provided the leaders in the industry with a pathway to seize the agenda before legislation imposed more complex and perhaps more commercially risky benchmarks. And Green Star also introduced a common language for the property and construction industry to use when describing best practice—and a way of overcoming the ‘greenwash’ of motherhood statements without metrics behind them.