A Comparison of Building Rating Systems: Leed, Green Star, Breeam. a Proposal to Integrate Biomimicry Into Green Star Rating

10 October 2016

Additionally, this endeavor attempts to research new strategies for sustainable infrastructure, which are consequential from the Biomimicry principles applicable to building design and building operations. This new discipline must be taken into consideration as it clearly presents innovative solutions for generating a more sustainable architecture in Australia.

Biomimicry introduces a new capable resolution to this problematic. The importance of Biomimicry in the building sector lies on the fact that it is an inspirational fund of valuable new innovation and, consequently, offers a wide range of possibilities to construct a pathway towards a regenerative building industry that co-exist with nature. 2. Objectives * To identify the constraints that Australian sustainable accreditation isages in developing a sustainable infrastructure by making a comparison to international assessment rating techniques, specially from the United States and the United Kingdom frameworks, – LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment), respectively. * To develop a framework that takes into account Biomimicry principles in building design and operations in order to foster resilience and innovation in the building sector for sustainable development. . Literature Review According to Garnaut (2007) the building sector is the largest donor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), utilizing approximately 40 per cent of the world’s energy and producing approximately 30 per cent of the carbon emissions. In Australia, only commercial and residential buildings have a share of 23 per cent of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, sustainable development has become the “buzzword” of both the academic and the business world.

A Comparison of Building Rating Systems: Leed, Green Star, Breeam. a Proposal to Integrate Biomimicry Into Green Star Rating Essay Example

In particular it is possible to identify two trends in sustainable buildings in the last two decades. The Period 1990 – 2000: where the concept of sustainable design was mainly based in the notion of buildings being “eco-friendly”, “environmentally friendly” and “unobtrusive”. A crucial element for building performance during this phase was founded on a “cost efficient” evaluation. The Period 2000 – 2010: the start of the 21st century reveals the beginning of “calculating carbon” and “measuring efficiency”.

This phase has established the measurements of CO2/m2/year as common factors in assessment of buildings performance. The principal indicator on building performance during this phase was based on a “carbon emission” analysis. The sustainability phenomenon has resulted in an abundance of frameworks around the world to evaluate property development against a collection of “sustainability criteria”.

Green Building Councils are members of the World Green Building Council; and on its respective country are conformed by partnerships between government and private organisations that have worked in collaboration to develop Green Building rating tools, internationally the most widely recognised include LEED, BREEAM, Green Star, CASBEE, SICES and EEWH. The sustainable building industry is shaped by the influence of the mentioned rating tools, which are mainly endorse and applicable through diverse Green Buildings Councils around the globe.

Consequently, main regions of influence can be traced accordingly: LEED in the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Canada Green Building Council, Brazil Green Building Council and India Green Building Council; CASBEE in Japan; BREEAM in the UK Green Building Council; SICES in Mexico Green Building Council; EEWH in Taiwan Green Building Council and Green Star in the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Green Building Council of New Zealand (NZGBC) and in the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

Although, there are many others international building tools available, the three larger rating systems in the world are: LEED, BREEAM and Green Star. As the following research will demonstrate later on, there is a substantial disparity in terms of the global methodology (i. e. LEED, BREEAM and Green Star) to be applied in order to evaluate sustainability criteria in the building sector.

This discrepancy can be explained by several factors; perhaps one of the most influential is the fact that each of the rating systems was conceived and adapted to a specific geographical context that regards unique characteristics in terms of: environmental conditions, politics and legislation, industry sector and socio-economic structures. For instance, BREEAM methodology is tailored, and therefore, better applied and representative when assessing the sustainability performance of the building industry in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the world.

Furthermore, the topics for building assessment vary according to different weightings and categories. LEED 2009 grants an overall score of 110 points with a weighting system that considers: 23. 6 per cent to sustainable sites, 9. 1 per cent to water efficiency, 31. 9 per cent to energy and atmosphere, 12. 7 per cent to material and resources, 13. 6 per cent to indoor environmental quality, 5. 5 per cent to innovation and design, and 3. 6 per cent to regional priority.

The overall score for BREEAM 2011 goes up to 110 per cent and its weighting system considers: 10 per cent to land use and ecology, 6 percent to water, 19 per cent to energy, 12. 5 per cent to materials, 15 per cent to health and wellbeing, 8 per cent to transport, 7. 5 per cent to waste, 10 per cent to pollution, 12 per cent to management and 10 per cent to innovation. The overall score for Green Star 2013 is 100 points and its weighting system considers: management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, innovation, emissions, and land use and ecology.

These building weighting aspects are not fixed like LEED and BREEAM, as they change according to states and territories in order to consider diverse environmental priorities across Australia. For example, potable water has a higher relevance in South Australia than the Northern Territories, and consequently the Water category has a higher weighting in South Australia. Therefore, it can be argue that a customized building rating system will be more representative and meaningful in addressing the specific context and particular requirements of the building sector in an determined country, state or territory.

However, on doing this, drawback effects appear as international comparison becomes more difficult because multiple rating tools are built upon different categories and weightings. According to Dixon et al. (2008), the proliferation of rating tools around the globe has created market distortions that prevent stakeholders and property investors from having a clear understanding on the implications of different sustainability methodologies.

In this regard, Reed (2010) points out that while it is established that states and territories possess unique characteristics, the objective of reaching a global rating tool can be achieved in a similar way that financial methodology works for analysing property values in different countries: by using a twelve-year discounted cash flow technique that considers exchange rates fluctuations it is possible to directly contrast the value of an office building in Berlin, London, New York City, or Melbourne.

In other words, a straightforward approach that relies on developing a global rating system will deliver important benefits that will facilitate the access to transparent information in the form of sustainability features and building assessment around different countries. The underpinning reasons behind not having a global rating system can be attributed to lack of knowledge and willingness to compromise towards a single rating tool since it may not be the possible best tool applicable to a wide range of states and territories.

In the last two decades there has been a significant evolution in the way rating tool methodologies assess the building sector. In the beginning of the 1990’s, the first rating tools techniques were developed (i. e. BREEAM) with a main focus in design stage, whereas the actual construction was not so important. At the start of the 21st century, this trend has gone in reverse, where most rating tool methodologies show significantly increased concern in the actual construction and a less focus in merely building design.

At the same time, since 2006 a new trend in green building rating has arose, where the main focus is now on the form of sustainable performance. This recent performance trend has expanded the implications of sustainable buildings, in an attempt to establish as a common practice for the infrastructure sector the measurement, through international audit and standards, of the levels of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, energy and water footprint.

As the orientation in direction to the construction stage and sustainable performance expands in time, the rating tools methodologies will accommodate accordingly, shifting increasing categories and weighting from building design perspective to building performance. Hence, this will have a powerful effect on the future configuration of the building sector. In addition, one important issue that also has a significant impact over the lack on global consensus on “sustainable buildings” is that the world most innovative technology rapidly becomes the benchmark and, consequently, there is no much space to include new breakthroughs.

In this direction Curwell and Cooper (1998) point out that because the notion of sustainable development is continuously evolving (i. e. in terms of conceptualization, implementation and monitoring) whereas building standards remain fixed within their respective sustainability frameworks, there is an essential constraint to reach global agreement. At the same time, Slessor (2010), Papanke (1995) and Godfaurd (2005) sustain that this search for consensus is disregarding new perspectives to be exercised in the sustainability arena, such as ecotech, ecological, regenerative and biomimetic.

The Greek terminology Biomimicry translates literally into ‘imitation of life’ and is founded on the concept that a higher level of sustainable development could be obtained by adopting certain natural strategies found in biology, chemistry and geology. This Biomimetic paradigm presents a new dimension to the field of sustainable building by implementing a further examination to the sustainable manner in which natural systems function and adapt for over the previous 3. 8 billion years. By following closely how nature solves problems in a loop-close manner (i. . zero waste) more efficient solutions could be found and, consequently, new strategies to enhance sustainable buildings could be implemented. Even though Biomimicry is comparatively a recent discipline, its donation towards sustainable infrastructure has already been quite remarkable. For example, as a result of a profound study that analyses the construction and mineralization of the coral reefs, Constanz (2007) has developed an innovative method that re-absorbs CO2 emissions during the fabrication of concrete material (i. . 1 pound of CO2 for every ton of cement produced). 4. Existing Solutions 4. 1 Benchmark analysis: BREEAM, LEED and Green Star rating systems Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Green Star are the most accepted and common global rating systems in the current sustainable building industry.

In this regard, LEED, BREEAM and Green Star schemes are similar in aims, approach and structure to rate the performance of the building sector and create according grade levels for accreditation. However, the sustainability rating methodology varies considerably, from tool rating system one to another, in terms of measurement of building performance, scope and environmental criteria within the infrastructure sector.

Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) introduced in the United Kingdom in 1990 consequently has an extended track record that is mainly applied in the UK. The mentioned system is applied in a number of various building infrastructures such as: offices, homes, retail units, industrial units, and schools. For other properties undergoing BREEAM rating can be given in the shape of using custom-made Bespoke BREEAM. Points are awarded for each criterion after each assessment of the building.

Finally, the entire building performance is categorized as a “Pass”, “Good”, “Very Good” or “Excellent” rating based on the overall score (Fowler & Rauch 2006). BREEAM offers a comprehensive approach which goal is to minimize environmental impacts in the different stages of construction and building operations. This methodology seeks to provide a sustainability strategy that takes into account all areas in the building industry and not just the simple mandate of cutting down on carbon emissions.

Consequently, there are multiple environmental and economical benefits on adopting the BREEAM system in the building industry such as: access to lower energy requirements and building operational costs, higher property rent value, enhancement in productivity levels due to workers access to a comfortable working environment, improved reputation for the building industry that commits to environmental protection, shorter selling times in buildings, and other publicity benefits.

The principal criterions for sustainable design and construction under BREEAM include management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, land use, ecology and pollution. Although there is an extensive record in the Building sector that is achieving high levels of accreditation in the BREEAM rating systems as their core sustainability strategy, the implications of the rating tool are not considered by U. S. design professionals.

Perhaps, the major constrain in the BREEAM rating system is that in spite of its contribution towards sustainable design and construction, it is not as widespread as LEED, and only selected as the favorite rating system by the building industry within the boundaries of the UK. On the other hand, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a system-rating tool that was created by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is more globally recognized as a reference for sustainable building practices. Furthermore, not only in the United States but also in multiple number of different countries around the world, LEED accreditation is the most commonly accepted standard for assessing building sustainability performance. The LEED green building rating system, developed and administered by the U. S. Green Building Council, is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. The most remarkable economic incentives granted by LEED are among the following: 8% to 9 % decrease in building operating expenses, 7. % increase in property values, 6. 6% improvement in return over investment, 3. 5% augment in tenancy, 3% rent increase. The construction cost is also an important advantage because the large majority of buildings are capable to achieve LEED certification without requiring additional funding. Some do need extra funding, but only for specific features, such as photovoltaics. In addition, comparative costs advantage in adopting LEED rating systems are given where LEED buildings are globally recognized, hence enjoy a greater reputation, and incurred on a similar cost (i. e. ost per square meter) than what it takes to adopt alternative building system rating methodologies. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The certification levels correspond to the number of credits achieved in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. In particular, the evolution towards the implementation of Green Star rating system in Australia can be regarded as a consequence of the escalating pressure of environmental legislation.

In this manner, Warren (2009) points out that there has been a great response coming from several infrastructure developers in Australia to seek Green Star accreditation for their recent constructions. The fact is that over 4 million square meters have turned into Green Star-accredited space around Australia, and an additional 8 million square meters of Green Star-registered space. Hence, Green Star is having a powerful impact on Australia’s built environment.

However, the Australian rating tools that are present in the building industry account for two environmental rating frameworks that are addressed to the building sector, such as the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) and the ladder, previously mentioned, Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Each of these rating tools aims to evaluate several parameters in order to award a star rating. The number of stars granted varies between the two schemes, with NABERS awarding up to five stars and the Green Star up to six stars.

The evaluation parameters in NABERS include: energy (previously known as the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating), water, waste and indoor environment. The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) developed the Green Star environmental rating system for buildings. Green star is a comprehensive rating system for evaluating the environmental design and performance of Australian buildings based on a number of categories. The nine categories included within all Green star rating tools are: management, indoor environmental quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovation

Although the council methodology of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) varies considerably, their rating systems do allocate a number of resemblances. For instance, both rating systems have minimum eligibility criteria and demand certain prerequisites for certification, both have taken an approach of collecting up credits under a type of category and both institutions have credentials in place to promote the active participation of certified experts in their respective rating systems.

According to Reed (2010) by doing a benchmark analysis on the different categories and weightings parameters for the rating tools LEED, BREEAM and Green Star, the methodologies can be directly comparable. Reed (2010) reaches some important conclusions, by analysing different aspects on the Table 1: Comparison Table by Category Weighting. LEED and BREEAM also reach a higher standard than Green Star in terms of energy efficiency. This is because LEED and BREEAM schemes take into account a larger number of parameters for assessing the building performance based on two comparable building models.

On the contrary, the Green Star scheme predicts building performance from one single building model based on fewer parameters to be assessed; therefore, Green Star is not as effective in the evaluation of energy efficiency rating scores. BREEAM outperforms in the category of building management compared to LEED and Green Star. Again, in comparison to the other scheme methodologies, Green Star falls behind in the category of Pollution. However, since water scarcity is an important sustainability issue in Australia, the water preservation standards of Green Star are consistently higher than LEED and BREEAM.

In regards to land use and ecology BREEAM appears to be setting the greatest emphasis, which is coherent to the current infrastructure scenario in the UK that presents high levels of density population. To some extend, this analysis shows how the major rating tools LEED and BREEAM are better adapted than Green Star to asses sustainable performance in the building sector in terms of energy and emissions, and consequently, offer a better response to this local sustainability issues where the respective frameworks where initially originated.

Another important difference between these tree major rating tools (i. e. LEED, BREEAM and Green Star) can be found in terms of category weightings. This rating methodology gap, based on Green Star categories, is displayed in the following graph, where the identified areas of contrast that resemble most significant differences, between Green Star and the alternative LEED and BREEAM are: water, materials, emissions/pollution and land use and ecology.

In addition, since the LEED rating system is applied in multiple building project around the planet, it can be argue that this methodology is more adjustable to a broad range of scenarios (for instance, assessing an airport), whereas Green Star requires the development of a custom rating system for project types not covered by their current tools. Undoubtedly, there are gradual and significant differences between LEED and Green Star system ratings. For instance, LEED applies an environmentally friendly method (i. e. nline system) to submit records and documentation, whereas Green Star initiative for submission is through paper and CD. The submission stage is a long process that can involve thousands of pages of documentation. However, the greatest discrepancy can be found in the technique in which the buildings industry gets accreditation. In LEED, the procedure for accreditation is two staged: design review and construction review. The building projects can obtained expected score at the end of the design stage but will only be given certification at the end of the construction stage.

LEED approach secures the execution of the initiatives acknowledged in the design stage. However, in comparison to LEED, Green Star rating system has a “loop hole” in this situation, since it is feasible to obtain accreditation at the stage of design, and then execute the project in an entirely different manner. In an attempt to solve this issue, Green Star offers now a number of ‘As-Built’ ratings  (to assess the consistency of the design stage during building implementation).

In addition, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is also commanding a time limitation on the promotion of design certification. However, as it is illustrated in the Table 2: Green Star Certified Office Buildings, the introduction of “As Built” ratings is not sufficient to secure sustainable building practices. This premise is applicable for all states and territories except for South Australia, where out of a total of ten design-certified office buildings; four office buildings have passed through “As Built” certification (i. e. 0 per cent rate) However, for the states and territories of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia the situation is more shocking since once that design accreditation has been granted a much smaller proportion (i. e. 5 per cent) of Green Star certified office buildings opt for accreditation at the construction stage. 4. 2 Biomimicry contributions to the Green Building Industry Biomimicry is the most up to date movement that is currently re-defining the sustainable building industry by following patterns in nature, more specifically in biological systems.

This approach offers innovative solutions that are currently applicable in sustainable designs for the building sector. Observing nature strategies and adapting them into our current scenario has lead to develop a more sustainable tactic for contemporary architects and design futurists in the building industry, especially for those who envision a long-term future where sustainable building is not a rival of nature but it is reinforced by it.

Architects and engineers have found in Biomimicry a sustainable strategy to improve buildings capacity to face the global issues of natural disasters around the world, especially earthquakes, which have a powerful destruction effect over the contemporary building industry. This Biomimicry solution has triggered the generation of reinforced concrete, which was conceived by imitating human bones consistency features where the collagen offers tension resistance such as steel bars, and mineral offers resistance to firmness such as concrete.

Based in the biological features of the femur, the product achieved was a lightweight construction that allows bending movements and declines the earthquake intensity on buildings. The innovative design leads to a lessening in concrete requirements for structures which also means a reduction of GHG emissions Another important Biomimicry contribution to the building industry is the one resulting from improved practices in terms of efficient resource management and closed-loop systems.

In other words, living natural systems use resources in the most effective ways, and are configured in such a manner that waste outputs, from certain processes of the system, can be transformed into input resources for others processes. A good example, of how the principle of closed-loop can be applied in the infrastructure sector is found in the building known as “The Plant” that is located in Chicago, USA. The Plan has passed through an innovative restructuration that enable the uilding to use one third of the structure for vertical farming purposes, and to use the rest two thirds to be rented to sustainable new businesses: including: the New Chicago Brewery, a kambucha tea company, an artisanal bakery, a tilapia farm, and more. The alignment of The Plant building with the Biomimetic principles have creative an innovative way of integration, where the waste of each business will transform into input resources for other businesses activities within the building.

For instance, the oxygen released by the vegetable farming activities will be used in kambucha production, which in return will produce carbon dioxide for the plants, which will also decontaminate the waters for the tilapia, while the tilapia themselves will feed on the barley residuals from the brewery. Natural residuals from all of the ventures will be supplied into an anaerobic processor that releases biogas into a generator to produce electricity for the complete building.

To cite another example Biomimetic researchers have studied the strategies that diverse plants, insects and other animals use to obtain water in extreme climates where it is a scarce or a not available resource. This analysis has lead to the creation of innovative designs to be applied in wind turbines that by condensing moisture from the air could produce not only a thousand litres of potable water but also over 30 kilowatts of electricity. The implications of this breakthrough will not only contribute to support communities in arid locations, but will also assist in the reforestation of the world’s growing deserts.

Biomimicry scientist also believe that this technology will be useful in developing sustainable building infrastructures that will enhance energy efficiency and eradicate infrastructure-dependence in terms of water, and electrical requirements. Furthermore, the project “rules of six” by architects Aranda & Lasch shows an unpredictable, self-generating landscape of interlocking hexagons that could represent rooms, buildings or entire urban neighborhoods.

The work mimics the growth patterns of microscopic structures; they create a sprawling matrix of three-dimensional structures that can multiply indefinitely without sacrificing stability. This may be the organic-algorithmic city of tomorrow. The United States Green Building Council, who founded the LEED certification system, wanted to investigate redesigning their organization in a way that was more closely aligned with their mission to protect and celebrate nature.

In their words, they wanted to be more “resilient and organic” in how their organization communicates with stakeholders. In other words, USGBC opted for a biology-inspired solution that could be more inspiring for its members to make an environmental impact. To sum up, Biomimicry is not simply an aesthetic approach for uninspired designers, but offers incredible possibilities as we look to reduce our global footprint on the environment and more efficiently steward our planet’s scarce resources. 5. My work 5. Closing the gap between Green Star rating systems and LEED and BREEAM rating certification. Green star has an important role to play in helping Australia’s building market to internalize undesired effects on the environment and, consequently, to accomplish more sustainable infrastructures. Furthermore, the strength of the Australian economy, in comparison to the rest of the developed economies, sets favourable conditions to encourage higher levels of capita investment and sustainable development in the infrastructure sector.

Consequently, this work will argue that improving the standard for Green Star rating system is fundamental in order to achieve higher grades of environmental performance and speed up competitiveness in a consistently dynamic global economy. Based on a benchmark analysis between the principal rating tools: LEED, BREEAM and Green Star, the current work has identified the categories and weightings where Green Star rating is falling behind in regards to the other two mentioned schemes.

In this regard, this work states that the main two main desired features to be improved in Green Star rating are in the materials and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions/pollution categories. Currently, the materials category under Green Star is based on specific environmental criteria that encourage the use of recycled and re-used objects and also concentrate on a vast range of material used in the building sector, such as: timber, steel, PVC and concrete.

However, Green Star is deficient in not requiring a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to measure the environmental performance of such materials. However, the importance in the implementation of a LCA lies on the fact that construction materials have a significant environmental impact that extend beyond the building itself. In other words, most of the buildings environmental impacts are derived from the materials that are used in construction. Furthermore, according to the 2030 Challenge for Products it is estimated that the environmental impact (i. e. easured by Gas (GHG) emissions and energy usage) from the materials required in constructing buildings will only be equalled after a period of twenty to thirty years of building operations. In addition, the difference between environmental impact of construction materials and building operations will only extend further if the scope of the analysis were to consider the full collateral effects that are involved along the multiple production steps required in the life cycle of construction materials: extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use and final disposal.

In this regard, one more reason that justifies the execution of a LCA is the need for a coherent Green Star rating system that includes a better measurement in the material category and, therefore, favours the use of environmentally friendly construction materials in the building sector. This will create an incentive for demand and innovation in the use of more sustainable materials across the building industry. A good example of these products can be found in sustainably produced wood and green cleaning products.

Moreover, a LCA on construction materials would generate a comprehensive analysis that includes the life cycle of a product and, in doing so, facilitates knowledgeable decisions that will consequently deliver higher benefits for local communities, the environment and human health. The implications of including a LCA analysis on the Green Star rating has the potential to transform and expand new directions in sustainable building across Australia. In regards to the Green House Gas (GHG) emission and pollution category Green Star is considerably far behind BREEAM and LEED schemes.

This is mainly because Green Star’s attributes are more design-oriented; rather than being a rating tool to be applied for actual performance on sustainable building operations. Therefore, Green Star rating is inefficient in measuring and controlling Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and pollution levels in the building stock. This sustainability issue is addressed in different ways by BREEAM and LEED rating systems: the first scheme directly encourages the reduction in carbon emissions to zero net emissions by granting in this category up to 10. 6 per cent of its overall score; whereas the latter is more focused in indoor air pollutants reduction, specially those that are detrimental, scented or irritant to the well-being of occupants. The actual performance sustainability gap in the Australian construction industry is filled by NABERS; which is a national and mandatory rating tool which role is to evaluate performance in terms of energy efficiency and carbon emissions.

Consequently, the green building industry in Australia has a high level of dependence in the federal government to establish adequate levels of sustainable performance, through measures that include: the Commercial Building Disclosure scheme and Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program. In addition, one of the main issues under Green Start that needs to be corrected for achieving a more sustainable building stock in Australia is the fact that most Green Star accreditation occurs under the design stage, where a considerably less amount of buildings undergo through “As – Built” accreditation.

Hence, this could potentially lead to developers to execute the project in an entirely different manner. To deal with this issue, Green Star has a number of ‘As-Built’ ratings; which are not necessarily attached to obtaining an overall Green Star rating. 5. 1. 1 Case Studies Pixel is the first building in the world to undergo certification in Green Star, LEED and BREEAM. An example on how a perfect score in Green Star may not be reflected in BREEAM and LEED can be found in the Pixel building. This is an infrastructure that was built in Melbourne with the ambitious goal to score every point in the green rating systems.

In Green Star this building score a perfect 105, but in so far it has only scored a 99. 4% out of 110% in BREAM and 103 out of 110 in LEED. The main difference in the score of Pixel building is explained is that Green Star favors the score of infrastructure within Australia. More importantly many of the things they did to earn credits aren’t very good solutions at all, so it definitely revealed many flaws with Green. VS1 is a new 35 thousand square meter office building that is based in Adelaide that has also obtained accreditation in Green Star, LEED and BREEM.

Due to the local conditions in Adelaide this building is highly efficient in usage of water and energy. The score achieved by this building in the three major building rating tools can be better appreciated in Graph 2: VS1 Building -Points achieved (based on 100 total). In this case VS1 has obtain a higher score in Green Star than in other two rating schemes. LEED rating system has been particularly hard on VS1 mainly because of the difficulty to get score in the construction materials category and because LEED also regards highly the use of renewable green energy.

The 55 St Andrews Place is a refurbished building in Melbourne CBD with a construction area of 6 thousand square meters and granted the BSJ award for sustainable refurbishment of the year 2007. The objective of 55 St Andrews Places was merely in achieving high levels of sustainable design. This building has also taken certification from Green Star, BREEAM and LEED. The results can be appreciated in the Graph 3: 55 St Andrews Place Building -Points achieved (based on 100 total).

In this case the highest score for this building was achieved under BREEAM, this is mainly because this rating scheme rewards improving existing building infrastructure more than LEED and Green Star and because it gives more points for energy improvement. The Cundall office is 4 hundred square meter fit-out project that is based in Sydney. This building project has also been certified in LEED, BREEAM and Green Star. The results can be better appreciated in Graph 4:The Cundall Sydney office (fit-out) – Points achieved (based on a 100 total). In this articular case the methodology of the rating tool systems varies significantly due to the nature of the project (i. e. fit out) the building assessment is done in an entirely different manner. Furthermore, the assessment changes drastically for fit – out furniture where: Green star evaluates furniture piece by piece, LEED adds up all the furniture together and BREEAM doesn’t evaluate. One factor that also explains the considerable disparity in rating building scores, is that BREEAM and Green Star are mainly focused on tenancies with formal contracts. Graph 4: Cundall Sydney office (Refurbished) -Points achieved (based on 100 total) . 2 A proposal to integrate a Biomimicry category in Green Star rating system. Undoubtedly, many benefits could be obtained by levelling Australian certification standards up to LEED and BREEAM requirements. This effort, however, may still be insufficient. According to Reed (who co-chaired LEED standards): “Current sustainable practice regarding sustainable design and construction are not yet truly sustainable… we can have a world full of LEED platinum buildings and still destroy the planet ” These greener designs, though progressive, often stick too close to the existing standard in a way that is simply less bad.

Reed also states “our designs need to be regenerative, meaning that we need to contribute to biodiversity with our own designs … an approach that not only reverses degeneration of the earth’s natural systems, but creates systems that can co-evolve with us, in a way that generates mutual benefits and creates an overall expression of life and resilience”. Hence, the added value of the current work consists on promoting innovation in the building stock of Australia via Biomimicry practices that would be assess in the form of “bonus” points in the Green Star rating system.

Although Green Star has already a category that rewards innovation, the effect of creating a separate criterion that clearly acknowledges the importance of Biomimicry principles, will send a powerful message to the building sector in regards of the implementation of the mentioned practices. Furthermore, this strategic movement will place Green Star as the first building rating system to directly recognize the contribution of the Biomimicry discipline to the development of sustainable building; in doing so, Green Star will noticeably establish a point of difference from LEED and BREEAM schemes.

The potential challenges that arise with the shift towards embracing Biomimicry practices in Green Star rating will be compensated by Gillard Government’s plan to invest $1 billion boosting innovation, productivity and competitiveness through its Plan for Australian Jobs, including $500 million to establish 10 Industry Innovation Precincts and $378 million to stimulate venture capital. The significance of fostering innovation in the Australian building stock goes beyond the mere creation of knowledge and ideas.

Innovation plays a central role in economic prosperity by creating higher levels of productivity and competitiveness in the industry and, more broadly, in the aggregate supply of a country’s economy. As demonstrated by Robert Solow, the 1987 Nobel in economic sciences, on the connection between innovation and economic growth: “half of the growth in United States output per hour during the first half of the 20th century can be attributed to advancements in knowledge, particularly technology”.

Furthermore, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): one-half to two-thirds of productivity growth in developed nations is due to innovation. For example, in the United Kingdom more than 60 percent of economic growth between 2000 and 2008 has been attributed to innovation. However, it is important to point out that innovation in new ideas or methods have long-term returns and are subject to uncertain risks.

In this regard, supporting private Biomimicry practices in the building sector through public investment is an effective manner to share risks and encourage economic development via positive spillover effects (i. e. improvements in productivity and competitiveness) that would not otherwise occur. 7. Results and Analysis 7. 1 Definition of Assumptions Assumption 1: “Overall the environmental criterion of Green Star rating system is not is as strong as LEED and BREEAM in regards to the assessment of design, actual and performance of sustainable building in Australia”.

Assumption 2: “The inclusion of a Biomimicry bonus category in Green Star rating system will deliver important benefits over the green building industry in Australia”. 7. 2 Assumption Testing Assumption 1: “Overall the environmental criterion of Green Star rating system is not is as strong as LEED and BREEAM in regards to the assessment of design, actual and performance of sustainable building in Australia”. The Assumption 1 is tested by: 5 Test A. Undertaking a benchmark analysis between LEED, BREEAM and Green Star tool rating systems. 6 Test B.

Documented case studies in Australian buildings projects that have obtained accreditation in LEED, BREEAM and Green Star ratings. Assumption 2: “The inclusion of a Biomimicry bonus category in Green Star rating system will be well-received by the current Australian economic scenario, and hence, will deliver important benefits over the green building industry in Australia”. The Assumption 2 is tested by: 7 Test A. Doing an research analysis on the federal government support to foster Biomimicry innovation in the current macroeconomic climate in Australia Test B. Documented case studies in the contributions of Biomimicry to the green building industry in Australia 7. 3 Results Assumption 1: “Overall the environmental criterion of Green Star rating system is not is as strong as LEED and BREEAM in regards to the assessment of design, actual and performance of sustainable building in Australia”. Assumption 1 validated by the following tests and results: Results on Test A: Benchmark analysis between LEED, BREEAM and Green Star tool rating systems. LEED approach secures the execution of the initiatives acknowledged in the design stage. In LEED, the procedure for accreditation is two staged: design review and construction review. The building projects can obtained expected score at the end of the design stage but will only be given certification at the end of the construction stage. Green Star rating system has a “loop hole” in this situation, since it is feasible to obtain accreditation at the stage of design, and then execute the project in an entirely different manner.

Except for South Australia, the situation is more shocking in the rest of states and territories since once that design accreditation has been granted a much smaller proportion (i. e. 5 per cent) of Green Star certified office buildings opt for accreditation at the construction stage. * BREEAM outperforms in the category of building management compared to LEED and Green Star. * LEED and BREEAM also reach a higher standard than Green Star in terms of energy efficiency. LEED and BREEAM schemes take into account quite a large number of parameters for assessing the building performance based on two comparable building models.

On the contrary, the Green Star scheme predicts building performance from one single building model based on fewer parameters to be assessed; therefore, any changes that are made can have a considerable impact on the final energy rating scores. * Green Star falls behind in the category of Green House Gas (GHG) emission and pollution category. Therefore, Green Star rating is inefficient in measuring and controlling Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and pollution levels in the building stock. * Currently, the materials category under Green Star is based on specific environmental criteria that encourage the use of recycled and re-used objects.

However, Green Star is deficient in not requiring a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to measure the environmental performance of such materials. LCA evaluation is currently included by BREEAM in the category of construction materials but not yet by LEED. An overall result derived from the benchmark analysis between LEED, BREEAM and Green Star tool rating systems is that Green Star’s attributes are more design-oriented; rather than being a rating tool to be applied for actual performance on sustainable building operations.

Results on Test B: Following case studies in Australian buildings projects that have obtained accreditation in LEED, BREEAM and Green Star ratings. * Pixel is an example on how a perfect score in Green Star may not be reflected in BREEAM and LEED. Pixel is an infrastructure that was built in Melbourne with the ambitious goal to score every point in the green rating systems. In Green Star this building score a perfect 105, but under BREEAM has only scored a 99. 4% out of 110% and in LEED 103 out of 110 points. VS1 achieved a higher score in Green Star than in the other two rating schemes. LEED rating system has been particularly hard on VS1 mainly because of the difficulty to get score in the construction materials category and because LEED also regards highly the use of renewable green energy. * The 55 St Andrews Place achieved a higher score under BREEAM than in the other two rating schemes. This result is mainly explained because BREEAM rating scheme rewards improving existing building infrastructure more than LEED and Green Star and because it gives more points for energy improvement. The Cundall Sydney office achieved a higher score under LEED rating system. However in this particular case the building score is granted in an entirely different manner, mainly due to the nature of the building project (i. e. fit out) The results on Test B for the Assumption 1 are not quite conclusive. This is because the case studies vary in the nature of the property project (i. e. new construction, refurbished, fit –out) without doubt the nature of the project plays a significant role in the score granted by the LEED, BREEAM and Green Star rating systems.

Assumption 2: “The inclusion of a Biomimicry bonus category in Green Star rating system will be well-received by the current Australian economic scenario, and hence, will deliver important benefits over the green building industry in Australia”. Assumption 2 validated by the following tests and results: Results on Test A: Doing a research analysis on the federal government support to foster Biomimicry innovation in the current macroeconomic climate in Australia The potential challenges that arise with the shift towards embracing Biomimicry practices in Green Star rating will be compensated by Gillard Government’s plan to invest $1 billion boosting innovation, productivity and competitiveness through its Plan for Australian Jobs, including $500 million to establish 10 Industry Innovation Precincts and $378 million to stimulate venture capital. * According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): one-half to two-thirds of productivity growth in developed nations is due to innovation

Results on Test B: Documented case studies in the contributions of Biomimicry to the green building industry in Australia * The materialization of project “rules of six” mimics the growth patterns of microscopic structures and shows an innovative and highly resilient landscape of interlocking hexagons that could represent rooms, buildings or entire urban neighborhoods. This may be the organic-algorithmic city of tomorrow. * A reinforced concrete solution, which was conceived by imitating human bones consistency features that allows bending movements and declines the earthquake intensity on buildings.

In addition, this Biomimicry strategy leads to a lessening in concrete requirements for structures, which also means a reduction of green house gas (GHG) emissions. * “The Plant” building based in Chicago USA represents a good model to follow in regards to the implementation of the closed-loop Biomimicry principle in the green building sector. The alignment of The Plant building with the Biomimetic principles have creative an innovative way of integration, where the waste of each business transforms into input resources for other businesses activities within the building (i. e. kambucha tea company, an artisanal bakery, a tilapia farm, and more). More specifically, the oxygen released by the vegetable farming activities is used in kambucha tea production, which in return will produce carbon dioxide for the plants, which will also decontaminate the waters for the tilapia, while the tilapia themselves will feed on the barley residuals from the brewery. * The principles of Biomimicry have inspired the creation of innovative wind turbines by a better understanding on the strategies that diverse plants, insects and other animals use to obtain water in extreme climates where it is a scarce or a not available resource.

These wind turbines are capable of condensing moisture from the air and produce not only a thousand litres of potable water but also over 30 kilowatts of electricity. Biomimicry scientist believe that this technology will be useful in developing sustainable building infrastructures that will enhance energy efficiency and eradicate infrastructure-dependency in terms of water, and electrical requirements. 8. Future work The Future work to be developed in a next project consists in a group of initiatives that will help to expand the body of knowledge towards different goals such as: To obtain a greater range of case studies where LEED, BREEAM and Green Star are applied in an international context, especially in South Africa and New Zealand. This would generate a larger amount of useful information to have a better understanding on the different scores and underling rationality behind the major rating schemes that are generate in property projects in a scenario where Green Star doesn’t have the upper hand just because the analysis is done in Australia. To study the significance (e. g. through a cost-benefit analysis) of developing a global rating scheme that is straightforward in terms of environmental measurement and international comparison purposes. This single rating tool could be directly implemented and supervised through the World Green Building Council. * To make an analysis on the future trends of LEED and BREEM schemes, in order to gain higher knowledge on how this rating tools are evolving and are likely to be enhanced in a near future.

This information should be taken into account by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in order to understand the transition process and fundamentals that are influencing LEED and BREEM environmental assessment for a securing a more sustainable building stock. * To prepare further research to consolidate weighting criteria that accommodates Biomimicry as a bonus category in Green Star rating scheme. This could result in adding an extra bonus of 2 to 3 score points to property projects that integrate the Biomimicry principles in the stage of design and construction. To prepare a cost benefit analysis for property developers that quantifies the cost of Biomimicry practices and execution in the building industry. More specifically, this analysis will address the property value that is gained once Biomimicry principles are put in place. The importance of this study is that it will work as a guideline to minimize risk towards innovation and, therefore, encourage the development of Biomimetic infrastructure. * To evaluate further the environmental performance of Biomimetic buildings and make a comparative analysis with top scored buildings under LEED, BREEAM and Green Star rating schemes.

The importance of this analysis lies on the development of a new trend in the infrastructure sector that applies Biomimicry solutions to minimize their water, energy and carbon footprint and embraces a new emerging notion of sustainable infrastructure. 9. Conclusions * A considerable amount of pressure has been placed to the building sector in order to embrace the sustainability agenda, in doing this; a low carbon economy has meant a movement towards sustainable innovation (i. . in terms of procedures, measurement and regulation). This has become humankind main competitive advantage to face the multidimensional challenges that come with a sustainable future. * An overall result derived from the benchmark analysis between LEED, BREEAM and Green Star tool rating systems is that Green Star’s attributes are more design-oriented; rather than being a rating tool to be applied for actual performance on sustainable building operations. The level of green accreditation on a building is strongly dependent on the assessment scheme used. Given that the three major schemes LEED, BREEA and Green Star, are based on different assessment methods and performance criteria. The results based on the case studies seem to confirm this rationale. Since the score granted by LEED, BREEAM and Green Star rating systems varies significantly under the same building. This reinforces the idea building certification that is based on the assessment of single rating tool could be misleading. The results based on the case studies show that green accreditation under LEED, BREEAM and Green Star will vary according to the nature of the property project (i. e. new construction, refurbished, fit –out). Since the green building rating schemes follow different methodologies of assessment, and this differences may increase depending on the characteristics of the building project. * In order to improve the assessment of rating systems it is important to develop more transparency between rating tools.

This will benefit the rating schemes as transparency will increase market competition, and consequently, generate a more pro-active infrastructure sector that aims towards the enhancement of standards since developers are more eager to demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental issues while increase their property performance. Global standards will obtain higher effectiveness if consensus in measurement is agreed for key problems such as green house gas (GHG) emissions, construction materials and energy usage.

This is a pre-requisite to obtain a higher state of the industry. * The development of a global rating scheme that is straightforward in terms of environmental measurement and international comparison purposes will, undoubtedly, deliver multiple benefits to the infrastructure industry. However, the main trade-off in doing this is that customized rating schemes are more successful in measuring environmental performance according to the particular needs of a determined country, state or territory. The condition of the economy is an important factor to take into account when it comes to delivering sustainable infrastructure. This is because considerable amounts of investments levels are required in order to undergo voluntary accreditation and have the willingness and commitment to invest in sustainable materials, additional building technology, clean renewable energy and renovations that are required to obtain sustainable building accreditation. Our knowledge about sustainable development is changing rapidly. The relevance of applying Biomimicry in the building corporation lays on the fact that it is a unique approach to the industry that incorporates a more profound understanding of sustainability; that go beyond simply measuring carbon emissions or energy usage to support a restoration process where human infrastructure becomes a vital component in the integration with natural ecosystems. There is no doubt that more innovative knowledge sourced from natural organism will expand the frontier of technology into a new set of possibilities that foster processes in energy and water efficiency, innovative construction materials and urban planning, etc. Consequently understanding the process that living organism have optimized during 3. 8 billion of years will re-define the way sustainable building is conceived. Consequently, applying this natural inspired technology into Green Star creates greater opportunities for the building sector to assume a leadership position in the global economy.

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