Green Star Certification

The built environment is currently the single largest contributor to greenhouse gases in the world, with buildings accounting for 39% of carbon emissions in the United States for example. This highlights and reinforces the urgency of turning buildings into agents of change for the betterment of people and the planet alike.

Green building rating systems such as Green Star South Africa help transform buildings into more sustainable structures in all phases of their life-cycle, including the design, construction, operation and demolition phases.

Green Star in the South African context

In the 2016 World Green Building Report released by Dodge Data & Analytics, South Africa surfaced as an emerging leader in the global green building movement with nearly two thirds (61%) of firms in South Africa reporting that they expect over 60% of their projects to be green by 2018.

The Green Star certification is one of the fastest growing green building certification systems globally and will play a significant role in South Africa’s green building growth in the coming years. The certification promotes integrated, whole building design whilst reducing the environmental impact of developments and recognising environmental leadership. Having been developed in South Africa from the Australian Green Star rating system, it is a model that has been tried and tested with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) now having over 300 certified projects.

Rating tools available

To date, the GBCSA offers Green Star rating tools to service different project types, which include:

New Build / Major renovation

The new build/major renovation rating tools assess new construction projects and major refurbishments under the following building types: Office V1.1, Multi Unit Residential V1, Public and Educational Buildings V1, Retail Centre V1, and the custom tool (for example hotels, mixed use and industrial buildings).

Existing Building Performance V1

The existing building performance V1 rating tool assesses the operational performance of an existing building.

Sustainable Precincts

The sustainable precincts rating tool assesses master planned developments at precinct and neighbourhood scales. This tool is still in the pilot phase.

Interiors V1

The interiors V1 rating tool assesses the interior fit-outs and their environmental attributes.

Net Zero / Net Positive

The net zero/net positive rating tool assesses the complete neutralisation or redressing of project impacts through the following ratings: carbon, water, waste and ecology.

For more information on the different Green Star rating tools, visit the GBCSA’s website here.

Each rating (barring the Net Zero/Net Positive rating tool) is divided into a number of categories with further credits each assessing a specific sustainability initiative to gain points towards a total score. Projects can achieve one of the following ratings, recognised as follows: 4-Star (Best Practice), 5-Star (South African Excellence) and 6-Star (World Leadership).

What are the benefits of Green Star?

Green Star Building Benefits

For more benefits of green star certified buildings, visit the World Green Building Council’s website here. Following on from the benefits of Green Star are different groups of people that are positively impacted by Green Star accredited buildings. Though not mutually exclusive, these groups include:


Green star buildings provide healthier spaces to work in, resulting in improved wellness, productivity and creativity

Building operators

Green star buildings lead to more efficient building operation and thus reduced operational costs.


Green star buildings are a unique selling point which enhances the marketability of a development.


Green star buildings assure that building is operating at peak performance with increased ROI, and increased value of property if certified.

Architects and engineers

Green star buildings provide opportunities to push the boundaries and standards of the industry and grow a portfolio of work, and is a streamlined process that embeds sustainability and efficiency in their designs.

Our Flagship Project

Hotel Verde, Africa’s greenest hotel, became the first hotel in South Africa to be Green Star rated in 2015. We were not only the lead sustainability consultants on the project, but also led the green star certification process which resulted in a 6-star certification for Existing

Building Performance. The certification was a pilot through which we assisted in refining the tool to make it more applicable to all kinds of building types.

For more information, or to get in touch about your own building project, contact us on 

References (2018). Green Star | Green Building Council of Australia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2018]

Time. (2018). Why Your Office Is the Cause Of—and the Solution to—Climate Change. [online] Available at:  [Accessed 29 Jan. 2018].”