What does a "Green" building look like?

BASIX, the Building Sustainability Index - that ensures new homes are designed and built to use less water and energy.

Green Star - a voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings.

From these, the knowledge and experiences of owners, and excluding structural options that are cost-prohibitive in existing buildings, we can start to identify all the opportunities for improving the sustainability of the common property for our residential apartment buildings.

There are two 'standards' for building new sustainable apartment buildings and complexes – one voluntary, one mandatory. While some of the options are not possible to retrofit to existing buildings, they do give us insight into what is possible.

BASIX, the Building Sustainability Index, is a NSW Government initiative that ensures new homes are designed and built to use less water and energy. BASIX is on-line program that assesses a house or unit design, and compares it against energy and water reduction targets. The design must meet these targets before a BASIX Certificate can be printed. Every development application for a new home must be submitted to Council with a BASIX Certificate.

Green Star is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of buildings. The Green Star - Multi Unit Residential v1 rating tool was launched by the Green Building Council of Australia in July 2009 to promote the design and construction of high-performance green residential developments.

From these, the knowledge and experiences of owners, and excluding structural options that are cost-prohibitive in existing buildings, we can start to identify all the opportunities for improving the sustainability of the common property for our residential apartment buildings.

Not all of these will be relevant or practical for every building.

Energy

  • systems in place to monitor energy consumption
  • sub-meters installed for
    • significant energy uses in the building (greater than 100kVA)
    • light and general power consumption for common areas
  • the most energy efficient lighting for specific tasks and activities
  • automated controls to minimise lighting and air conditioning energy use in common areas when unoccupied
  • energy efficient appliances with the best available energy start rating
  • gas boosted and/or solar hot water systems
  • improved insulation
  • efficient ventilation controls in car parks
  • pool pump timers
  • maximum use of natural light and ventilation (especially for renovations or additions to common property)
  • common (shared) washing machines and dryers with the highest available energy rating
  • external clothes lines, or bylaws in place to allow clothes drying on balconies
  • on-site renewable energy generation and/or cogeneration
  • no air-conditioning system; or a system that has the best available energy start rating; or ceiling fans for cooling.
  • no heating system; or one with a non-electric energy source

Water

  • systems in place to monitor water consumption
  • water efficient appliances, fixtures & fittings
  • a zeriscape garden
  • on-site water collection, treatment and use
  • minimised potable water consumption of water-based heat rejection systems e.g. efficient cooling towers that run on rainwater
  • sufficient temporary storage for routine fire protection system test water and maintenance down-drains, for reuse on-site; or each floor fitted with a sprinkler system has isolation valves or shut-off points for floor-by-floor testing; or the fire protection system does not expel water for testing
  • common (shared) washing machines have the highest available water rating
  • water-efficient pool filtration technology
    • a pool cover prevents water loss from evaporation
    • efficient pool filtration technology compared to traditional sand filtration
    • backwash water collected and treated for reuse on-site
    • pool make-up water is non-potable water
  • recycling of wastewater for toilet flushing, laundry and landscaping

Gardens & Grounds

  • a zeriscape garden; native, low water-use landscaping
  • outdoor communal facilities enabling residents to engage in a range of outdoor activities in common areas, such as
    • communal or individual garden plots
    • composting and/or worm farm facilities
    • playground area
    • open landscaped areas for active play
    • sun-shared areas
    • outdoor gym
    • swimming pool
    • seating
    • outdoor dining
    • barbecue facilities

Materials

  • use of interior finishes and products that minimise levels of Volatile Organic Compounds
    • paints
    • adhesives & sealants
    • wall and ceiling coverings
    • floor coverings
  • natural cleaning products
  • use of wood products with low formaldehyde emission levels
  • use of recycled building materials
  • reduced use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products
  • use of re-used timber products or timber that has certified environmentally responsible forest management practices
  • flooring products that have a reduced environmental impact
  • HVAC refrigerants with reduced potential for depletion of the ozone layer or increased global warning

Transport Support

  • a formal car sharing scheme
  • secure bicycle racks, lockers or cages

Waste

  • storage space that facilitates recycling and reduction of waste going to landfill
    • easily accessible by all residents so that disposal of recycling is at least as convenient as the disposal of general waste
    • suitable access for recycling companies
    • of sufficient size to accommodate
      • Cardboard
      • Glass
      • Plastics
      • Metals
      • Batteries
      • Fluorescent globes
  • compost facilities for on-site disposal and re-use of compost and green waste
  • facilities for the disposal of over-sized household items, separated from the general waste and recycling area(s)

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Categories & Credits in Green Star - Multi Unit Residential V1

Categories & Credits in Green Star - Multi Unit Residential V1

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