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Green Building Revolution

The Green Building Council of Australia – Green factories get the star treatment

May 12, 2010
by – Posted By Gina Mathioulakis

THE ”green” building revolution, which has concentrated on housing and offices, has reached the industrial sector.

The Green Building Council of Australia has released the Green Star – Industrial v1 tool that assesses the environmental attributes of new and refurbished industrial buildings.

Green Star executive director Robin Mellon said Green Star encouraged design that took into account how the building would be used and the opportunities available. This included using spaces such as large roofs that provided ample areas for water collection or solar panels.

”In terms of good design, they are ripe for change at the moment,” Mellon said.

”They can use a lot of good passive design – orientation, shading and creating as much natural ventilation as possible.”

GBCA’s revised materials credits for PVC, timber and steel had a crucial role to play, he said.

Under the new PVC credit system, projects can gain green points if the flooring, resilient wall coverings, cable, pipe and conduit – that together account for most PVC use in buildings – meet the GBCA’s best-practice guidelines.

The credit criteria for steel places more emphasis on production, fabrication and recycling, aiming to use less steel and in a more efficient and energy-saving way.

The GBCA now recognises timber certified by the Australian Forestry Standard and Forest Stewardship Council.

This extends the range of wood that can be used for green points, including Australian native forest and plantation timber.

Mellon said it was not necessarily a question of sustainability ethics. ”It’s just as much about the financial case. This is good business sense – building industrial properties that will cost less to run, and are nicer places to work inside,” he said.

”Environmental outcomes are the cherry on the top. We are talking about future-proofing.”

Mellon said some green buildings cost more to build. ”They may cost 1 to 5 per cent more, but in every single case the additional case is offset by smaller bills and higher productivity. The payback periods are not long – just a year or two.”

The rating tool assesses the base building and its services; fitouts and industrial processes are not included in the assessment.

The tool includes sector-specific credits under the headings noise pollution, small occupied spaces and stormwater.

The public transport credit has also been revised to take into account regional differences in transport needs.

The method for assessing greenhouse gas emissions is now based on energy efficiency requirements in the Building Code of Australia.

The Green Star – Industrial v1 tool can be freely downloaded for self-assessment from the GBCA website.

http://www.gbca.org.au

Source: theage.domain.com.au