THE ‘green’ or environmentally sustainable tag has moved beyond a fad in the commercial property industry, with many players now recognising that savvy use of the green badge is beneficial to both business and the environment.
Some agencies are even predicting that, in the not-too-distant future, governments will legislate to ensure that commercial buildings meet a range of environmental criteria.
In the recently released Western Australian State Sustainablity Strategy, the State Government identified a need to implement an environmental rating on buildings and that this rating be disclosed at the time of sale or lease of the building.
It also recommended the establishment of regulatory frame-works for sustainable building and construction.
Earlier this year the Victorian State Government launched a ratings system to drive major environmental improvements in new commercial buildings. Office buildings have the highest growth rate in energy consumption of any sector and are a major source of green-house gas emissions.
In recognition of this development, commercial agency FPD Savills has made moves to become the first Western Australian agency to gain accreditation in a ‘green star’ rating tool for new commercial office buildings.
Developed by The Green Building Council, a national not-for-profit property industry initiative, green star is a national voluntary rating system that evaluates the environmental performance of buildings.
The council has rolled out the pilot rating tool for the design phase of new construction or refurbishment of office building and expects to release a ratings system for existing buildings and office fit-outs.
FPD Savills State operations manager for facilities Kirk Rogers said gaining accreditation with green star allowed the agency to get in on the ground floor of an initiative that was likely to become widely adopted in the property industry.
Mr Rogers said the green star rating was also a useful marketing tool.
By gaining accreditation in The Green Building Council’s first rating tool for design-phase of commercial buildings Mr Rogers can get involved in the ground-up design of new buildings, which will earn the building green star credit points.
Such early involvement in a new building project is expected to enable the agency to better manage these buildings, as well as sparking other business synergies.
Mr Rogers said that, as buildings became more complex and more efficient outcomes were required, this background design knowledge would be essential.
He said property owners were cost driven and, if presented with an energy efficient alternative to traditional building facilities that also allowed them to obtain green credentials at minimal extra cost, many would adopt it.
Green Building Council figures suggest a 10,000 square metre commercial building can save 30 per cent in water use and 30 per cent in energy by building green – a cost saving of $40,000 on energy each year.
FPDSavills WA general manager Paul Craig said the FPDSavills initiative was to promote green building principles to clients involved in new developments and refurbished existing office buildings.
He said the agency would highly recommend others in the property industry got on board.
“And it’s not about going out on a limb – other people have tried and succeeded at this,” Mr Craig said.
This week, The Green Building Council of Australia launched the final version of its Green Star Office Design rating tool.
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