3 July 2009 – Australia’s leading green building organisation, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), has just released a new Assessment Framework for Product Certification Schemes, as part of its ongoing review of the Green Star environmental rating system for buildings.
According to the GBCA’s Green Star Executive Director, Robin Mellon, “The new Assessment Framework will clarify best practice benchmarks and establish expectations for manufacturers and suppliers of fitout products, as well as for the certification schemes that are recognised through Green Star,” Mellon says.
“We envisage the costs of product certification for manufacturers and suppliers will decrease as more certification options become available. Similarly, the costs and commercial barriers associated with Green Star fitouts will be reduced.”
A new Green Star Material Calculator and User Guide that will complement the new Framework are being developed with input from the Expert Reference Panel, and will be released for public comment by 30 November 2009.
Products and materials which are certified by GBCA-recognised certification schemes will have greater access to the ‘deemed to satisfy’ compliance status within the Green Star Material Calculators.
Previously, only Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA)-certified products were ‘deemed to satisfy’ the requirements of the material calculator credits in Green Star rating tools. The GBCA will continue to recognise GECA-certified products during a transition period from 30 June 2009 to 1 July 2010. GECA-certified products will continue to be recognised after the transition period provided that GECA and the Standards it operates have been assessed against, and have complied with, the full scope of the Framework.
Other applicant schemes can make a submission against the full scope of the Framework from 15 July 2009, but only schemes and standards that are relevant to the fitout product applications referenced in the Green Star Material Calculators (Furniture, Flooring, Joinery, Walls, etc.) are eligible for assessment.
“The GBCA appreciates the importance of a transition period to give schemes,
manufacturers and suppliers time to consider the requirements of the Framework
and take appropriate steps towards compliance,” Mellon explains.
At the end of the transition period, the GBCA will only recognise certification schemes and Standards that have undergone assessment according to the full scope of the Framework and achieved the required status.
“The GBCA recognises the leadership and commitment of the manufacturers and suppliers that have been early adopters of best practice performance-based environmental standards,” he says.
These organisations are well placed to retain their recognition as market leaders by demonstrating compliance with the environmental best practice standards that will be informed by the Assessment Criteria in the Framework.
More information on the Assessment Framework for Product Certification Schemes can be found at www.gbca.org.au