We have all had to undergo changes to our daily life due to Covid-19. Some of the positive results of those changes illustrate that if we make changes in our way of working and living, we can yield great environmental impacts.
We are starting to see a shift in the way of thinking as the new generation considers where to work, shop and play based on the indoor environment and sustainability commitments of the building owner or tenant. They are seeking places that are designed with mindful use of limited resources or eventual reusewhich reduces waste and the need for remodels.
More and more people are becoming aware of their surroundings and therefore are seeking places that protect their health and wellbeing through design that prevents indoor air pollution and is visually, thermally and acoustically comfortable to be in. Employees and business owners on the other hand want their employees, tenants or customers to be productive and healthy to ensure reduced sick days, longer rental agreements or continuous returns to their retail store.
There is increased pressure for building owners or tenants to demonstrate how they are contributing positively towards society and they are becoming more conscious of the operational savings that benefit their investment and the environment. The latter may also assist with any sustainability reporting required. When the latter objectives are required to be met, we tend to look to the experts who have done the extensive training and have the knowledge of why, how, who and what we need to achieve those positive impacts associated to the objectives.
Let’s take a quick high-level look at the why, what, who and how to achieve the sustainability objectives:
This can be broken down into two parts:
Why use a rating tool?
The rating tool provides locally contextualised best practice standards that encourages the property industry to align with these standards.
Why should the Interior fitout be rated?
As with most things in life, consumers, employees, employers, etc want verification that you are qualified in what you do or want verification that your business is doing what it claims to be doing. Without certification, the property can say that they are green or sustainable, but how does one verify that? This is where accredited professionals (APs) come in, as we guide the project team to ensure that the standards are met and that these standards are then independently verified and rated through the certification body that is the GBCSA
This section addresses what information is available and what we can use to assist with achieving the objectives and ensuring that a benchmark is set. The Green Star Interiors Rating tool which addresses fundamental principles associated to the health and wellbeing of the occupants through indoor environmental quality, comfort (thermal, light, visual, acoustic, ergonomics), emissions and addresses the operational efficiencies through resource management and conservation and material saving initiatives. It also addresses other principles such as knowledge transfer, connection to nature (indoor plants) and transport
The parties involved will be the client (tenant, developer, owner, etc), the relevant professional(s) from the interiors fitout team and the APs. GBCSA is the independent certification body.
The Green Star AP who has specialised in the Green Star Interiors Tool works with the project team and client to determine the Green Star strategy to ensure that the fundamental principles are implemented and that an overall Green Star rating of either a 4, 5 or 6-Star is achieved. Once this is done, the AP will then submit all the required evidence and documentation to GBCSA who will then issue it to an independent auditor whowill verify the achieved Green Star rating
*Roxanne Dovey is a Green Star Accredited Professional (AP) across all the tools offered by GBCSA, an assessor and a member of the GBCSA Academy.