The unescapable fact about building development and design is that every client wants to get the most out of their money. This fact has often been used as the reason to neglect sustainable or "green" building principles from design. However, forward thinking designers and developers are increasingly embracing the economic advantages of including "green" building principles in design.
Well known benefits of sustainable design include decreased costs due to less raw material consumption and decreased long term energy costs, which are becoming increasingly important with rising water and energy prices. However other, more subtle economic drivers are becoming more apparent. Greater awareness within the community and a greater expectation from shareholders and taxpayers to embrace sustainability has resulted in large companies and governments increasingly viewing projects on a "triple bottom line" basis which often puts a premium on the environmental outcomes of their chosen accommodation. These clients commitment to actively contributing towards sustainability results in their willingness to pay a premium for quality, environmentally friendly workplaces, therefore creating a market demand which developers are becoming eager to fill.
This push towards a "value added" approach to building design is rapidly increasing the industry's enthusiasm for green building practices in all fields. However, quantifying and verifying the benefits of green building practices employed in a project is often one of the greatest challenges. One group working to provide a solution to this problem is the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
The GBCA is a national, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to drive the transition of the Australian property industry towards:
- Sustainability by promoting green building programs, technologies, design practices and operations
- Integration of green building initiatives into mainstream design, construction and operation of buildings
As part of this commitment the GBCA launched the Green Star environmental rating system for buildings in 2003. Through this system, buildings which are in the top 25% and above in ecologically sustainable design can apply to receive a "Green Star" rating for the building based on predetermined criteria. Green Star rating tools help the property industry to reduce the environmental impact of buildings improve occupant health and productivity and achieve real cost savings, while verifying and showcasing innovation to the wider community.
Pritchard Francis is committed to delivering profitable projects and services in an environmentally responsible manner. As part of this ongoing commitment, Pritchard Francis has recently become a member of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and is proud to support the values and initiatives on which the group is based.
For more information on the GBCA visit www.gbcaus.org