National Construction Code

Green Star and the NCC

Image fo the world and a tree, each in the palm of a hand

The ABCB and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) are working together to formally recognise Green Star as a compliance pathway with Section J of the NCC.

What is Green Star?

Green Star is a national, rating system for buildings and fitouts. Green Star assesses the design and delivery of buildings and fitouts against benchmarks in nine categories, among them: energy, water, waste, indoor environment quality and ecology.

A Green Star rating is a mark of excellence, with three rating levels awarded for new buildings and fitouts: 4 Star (representing ‘Best Practice’), 5 Star (‘Australian Excellence’) and 6 Star (‘World Leadership’).

Green Star ratings are awarded for completed construction (called an ‘As Built’ rating), with an optional design review rating (‘Design Review’) also available.

To achieve a Green Star rating, a building must be at least 10 per cent more energy efficient than a building that meets the Deemed-To-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions of Section J.

Greenstar logo

Green Star recognition in the NCC

The NCC’s Section J, JP1 and JP3 Performance Requirements can be met by using either a Performance Solution or a DTS Solution.

Currently, a Green Star rating may be used as a Performance Solution to demonstrate that a non-residential building is compliant with JP1 and JP3. This process is detailed in the Performance Solution using Green Star rating scenario, which was developed by the ABCB.

Image of the Performance scenario using Green Star

With the next update to the NCC, it is proposed that Green Star will be formally recognised as part of broader changes which aim to provide more flexibility for practitioners and reduce red tape.

Under these changes, the Green Star rating process would be accepted as part of a Verification Method for demonstrating compliance with the Performance Requirements JP1. This will provide efficiencies for industry.

While the proposed changes to the NCC recognising Green Star as part of a Verification Method would not be made until 2019, a Green Star ‘Design Review’ & ‘As Built’ rating can still be assessed as a ‘Performance Solution’ as referred to above.

Why are we doing this?

A central principle of the NCC is that there is no obligation to adopt any particular material, component, design factor or construction method to meet its requirements. This provides a choice of compliance pathways. The Performance Requirements can be met using either a Performance Solution, a DTS Solution or using a combination of the two.

Introducing Green Star as a method of verifying Section J compliance recognises the robust compliance requirements built into achieving a Green Star rating and will make it even easier for project teams to demonstrate compliance with the code. It will also save time and money because industry will no longer have to run two separate building energy models: one to show compliance with the Section J of the NCC; and one for Green Star accreditation.

Next steps

The next NCC will be released on 1 May 2019.

Prior to this, a public comment period opens on 1 February 2018. This will be a valuable opportunity for the industry to have its say on the proposed changes.

Register to keep up to date with NCC 2019 energy efficiency developments and ensure you are across proposed changes, understand how they will affect your building projects and know when you can have your say.

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