The Analysis Of Green Rating Systems Construction Essay

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The green rating system can be defined as the total system that rewards points for clear defined, environmentally responsible and friendly construction, design and systems. The green rating system as it applies to building construction analyses a range of criteria or factors including energy efficiency, choice of materials and location, indoor air quality, water usage and emissions.

Most systems incorporate tiered levels of recognition or standards depending on the criteria met for a certain building. Green rating systems vary in their definition and weighting depending on the various environmental attributes, their means for assigning points, and their certification process. Additionally, these rating systems have varying minimum requirements, relationships to building codes, certification processes and costs, and certifier training requirements.

Energy-efficient design strategies encompass a wide range of traditional building construction elements, including building envelope design, mechanical systems, HVAC, lighting, controls systems, and so on. Green design budgets must take care not to sacrifice these fundamentals in order to accommodate headline-grabbing "green technologies" that may have a much smaller impact on overall energy performance. For example, a project may spend green funds on a few solar panels at the expense of better window glazing, which dollar-for-dollar yields far greater energy savings and pollution prevention.

One final analysis of green rating systems as it applies to building construction is that environmentally friendly green building does not alone yield energy savings, as the tenants of the building must use the technology to meet its specific benefits to maximise energy savings.

Systems currently in use which assess the environmental performance of residential buildings:


Green Star is a green rating system that details a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings and communities. With more than 4 million square metres of Green Star-certified space around Australia, and a further 8 million square metres of Green Star-registered space, Green Star is transforming Australia's built environment to better conform with pressures surrounding environmentally responsible design from both community and clientele perspectives.

The Green Star green rating system was developed for the property/construction industry in order to:

Institute a common language

Establish a standard measurement for built environment sustainability

Promote integrated complete design

Identify and improve life cycle impacts of buildings

raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable design, construction and urban planning

The green star rating system incorporates nine built ratings tools including:


Indoor Environment Quality





Land Use & Ecology



The Green Star rating tools assess building level developments against six predefined categories:




Economic Prosperity



Point Score

Green Star Rating


45 - 59

4 Star

Best Practice

60 - 74

5 Star

Australian Excellence


6 Star

World Leader 


NABERS is a green rating system that measures the environmental performance and effectiveness of buildings, tenancies and homes. NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.

Such criteria are achieved through detailed analysis and verification of performance information such as bills, which is converted into star ratings, from one to six starts. A six star rating would demonstrate a market leading performance that highlights innovative design principals and efficient energy use, while a one star rating would demonstrate a building with clear and well defined lack of green building principals.

For over ten years, NABERS has helped property owners, managers and tenants across Australia to improve their sustainability performance, reaping financial benefits and building their reputation.

To ensure your real-life performance data is comparable with other buildings, it's sometimes necessary to make adjustments that account for the specific location and use of your building.

The rating takes into consideration

The climactic conditions in which the building operates

The hours of its use

The level of services it provides

The energy sources it uses

Its size and occupancy.

NABERS ensures that your building is compared fairly against its market peers. The adjusted data is then compared to the NABERS benchmark data, and a star rating reflecting your performance relative to your peers is calculated. An accredited rating confirms what's working well and what's not and allows you to set meaningful targets to improve the environmental performance of your building or tenancy.

How a NABERS Energy rating for offices is calculated


This green rating system uses the Australian Building Greenhouse rating scheme in calculation of the energy assessment of a particular tenancy. The Australian Building Greenhouse rating is a computer software tool which enables office buildings to measure their relative impact on the environment through the production of greenhouse gases. The ratings are based on energy-related greenhouse gas emissions adjusted to account for how the building is used.

The ABGR scheme creates a standard for commercial office spaces, which have a comparatively large greenhouse impact and decent scope for improvement. It cannot currently be applied to any other building type although the scheme may expand to cover different building types in the future. It can be used for the base building (central services), whole building or individual tenancies.

The scheme benchmarks a building's greenhouse performance on a scale of one to five, one having the worst greenhouse performance and five the best. The scheme assists building owners and tenants to promote their greenhouse performance and gain a competitive advantage.

Australian Building Greenhouse rating scheme uses Stars to rate performance:

3 Star ABGR Rating signifies 'Current Market Best Practice'

4 Star ABGR Rating signifies 'Strong Performance'

5 Star ABGR Rating signifies 'Best Building Performance'

The star rating is derived from the actual amount of energy (electricity, gas, coal or oil) a building/tenancy consumes in a year. This means the rating reflects the way energy is managed as well as how efficiently the building is designed. The benchmark allows comparison with the greenhouse performance of other buildings. The ABGR scheme allows developers and building owners to promote and market excellent greenhouse performance of new and refurbished office buildings from the outset. A Commitment Agreement states the developer and owner's commitment to design, build and commission the premises to the selected star level. Both Green Star rating system and the ABGR scheme require rating or assessment by accredited/certified assessors.

Advantages/Disadvantages of each Green Rating System:



Lower operating costs : Green buildings are built for high energy and water efficiency, so they are cheaper to operate. Green buildings achieve energy savings of at least 20-30% when compared with industry standards - and sometimes much more.

Higher return on investment: Green buildings also deliver a higher return on investment. The McGraw Hill Construction Report (2007) found that building green increases a property's values by 7.5% and improves the return on investment by 6.6%.

Greater tenant attraction: Tenants want environmentally sustainable, healthy and productive workspaces that demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Competitive advantage: By building green, you can differentiate your project in an increasingly crowded marketplace. The Green Building Market Report (2008) revealed that one of the main triggers for committing to green building was the competitive advantage of green projects - with almost half of the respondents nominating it a key driver for going green

Productivity benefits: Green buildings consistently outperform non-green buildings in terms of comfort and productivity. Natural light, fresh air and access to views of the outdoors, as well as control over their own individual workspace temperature and lighting, can directly affect productivity.


Expensive at times to obtain ($25,000-$100,000)

Not updated for existing buildings



Delivers financial benefits, such as reduced operating costs, increased value, increased rental income and reduced vacancy rates.

Provides market recognition and a competitive advantage for building owners and tenants who operate in an environmentally efficient manner.

Helps to create a better work environment for employees which has positive benefits for any company in terms of physical and mental health.

Can help landlords to meet tenant expectations for greener buildings and workplaces, in particular government tenants who require a minimum 4.5 star ratings.

Encourages best practice, by providing realistic but aspirational benchmarks that encourage owners and tenants to minimise their environmental impacts.

Can help to identify cost saving opportunities over time and across a portfolio - property owners can use NABERS to inform them of the performance of buildings across a portfolio and, through targeted resource allocation, better manage their impacts on the environment.


Requires 12 month of building operation before an accurate and meaningful raying can be formulated for the tenancy.

Focuses only on specific aspects, not the energy saving systems as a whole.

Less likely to be used in the design phase as ratings cannot be calculated before the building is fully operational.

NABERS compares your building to those in the area around you so there is no constant rating system.



Competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace for low greenhouse emitters and energy efficient buildings as many tenants main priority is starting to focus on energy efficient buildings to substantially lower operating cost.

Help to encourage the best possible practice during the design, maintenance and operation of commercial buildings to help reduce greenhouse emissions.


The main disadvantages is that the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating system can only be applied to office building tenancies which dramatically limits the impact this green rating system can have in the immediate future.



A developer of medium density residential project should respond to the Green Star ratings system by adopting its main principles to ensure environmentally friendly and responsible buildings. A developer should incorporate such principles as innovation and reduced energy consumption to design a building that ensures long term sustainability within the industry. Medium density residential projects should focus on emissions and material choice to ensure that tenants are able to promote an energy efficient lifestyle due to systems that ensure suitability. Green Star rating system raises awareness of the benefits of sustainable design such as reduces energy bills, thus resulting in financial gains for tenants, which may lead to long term occupancy with the building. This will result in increased benefits for developers as tenants are not constantly moving.


A developer of medium density residential project should respond to the National Australian Built Environment Ratings system by taking into consideration the benefits which this system offers. Developers may design and construct buildings that adopt the core foundation of NABERS that will leave to a project that satisfy green building principles. This rating system should be responded to by allowing the developer to take into consideration the climate in which the building operates to ensure that all energy efficient systems are best suited for the environment, the use and of building in terms of hours to ensure adequate energy is provided, size and occupancy of the building and the energy sources the buildings will need. If a developer is able to respond and meet the criteria set out through NABERS it will ensure that the construction will be able to meet stringent green building design principles.


A developer of medium density residential project should respond to the Australian Building Environment Greenhouse rating scheme by deriving the main criteria set out in the rating system. This will incorporate the developer respondent to the points illustrated with the rating scheme which include deriving the actual amount of energy (electricity, gas, coal or oil) a building/tenancy consumes in a year, benchmarking to allow for comparisons with the greenhouse performance of other buildings, and allowing developers and building owners to promote and market excellent greenhouse performance of new and refurbished office buildings from the outset. All of these aspects will in turn allow for better market performance for all buildings as saving can be made with reduced energy consumption, allowing lower tenant cost, thus raising tenant levels and providing long term sustainability for the building in terms of both energy efficiency and tenant levels.


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