Green building ratings, down under

March 7, 2010

Here in NYC, green buildings are rated by the US Green Building Council, who developed and promote the LEED building rating system. GreenHomeNYC volunteer Brian Rahm takes a look at a similar organization 8,000 miles away: the New Zealand Green Building Council. NZGBC has established a rating system called Green Star, similar to the LEED paradigm. Up to now, rating and green building work in New Zealand has focused on commercial property rather than residential. Because of this focus, and the relatively recent interest in green building principles, many of the properties highlighted by NZGBC are still in the design phase, and are typically large multi-use high-rises in urban environments. That being said, they have announced that work is underway to establish a Green Star rating system for new and existing residential structures. The rating system will be developed through a partnership between NZGBC, the Building Research Association (BRANZ), and Beacon Pathway, and will include a web-based tool that allows homeowners to evaluate the likely impacts of renovations on overall building performance. Residential home construction quality is a source of national concern in NZ, and has been targeted by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as a main area for improvement in the coming years. EECA is a partner in the residential Green Star venture, and represents the interests of the national government, along with the potential for cooperation between industry, government, and homeowners within the green building field. Check out this relatively easy to follow presentation concerning the concept and progress of the residential Green Star tool.