SEE talks deep with GBCA, LFIA and WELL

Recently the Green Building Council of Australia entered into MOUs with both Future Living Institute Australia and WELL Building Standard. We had a number of questions relating to these MOUs so we approached each organisation and here are their responses.

Firstly, we have a combined response from Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA); Mary Casey, Director, Living Future Institute Australia (LFIA); Paul Scallia, Founder, WELL Building Standard (WELL).

Q1: How will the MOUs between GBCA, LFIA and IWBI assist manufacturers and suppliers of green building related products and solutions in Australia?

Rating systems have undoubtedly transformed the product landscape. As the industry is increasingly guided by Green Star, Living Building Challenge, WELL and other rating systems, demand for green and healthy products has grown. Rating systems have introduced a new competitive dynamic as manufacturers are driven to comply with new benchmarks for emissions, indoor environment quality, recycled content and product stewardship, to name just a few.

Many of the sustainable products that were once expensive and hard to source are now affordable and accessible – and these products are now stocked on the shelves of every hardware store in the land. As more projects achieve ratings – whether with Green Star, Living Building Challenge or WELL – we expect the demand for sustainable products and products that can improve health and wellness to grow.

Q2: We are now seeing three layers of rating systems collaborating via MOUs. Was this done to ultimately create an efficient, streamlined, singular rating process?

These MOUs are not to be seen as adding layers but as complementary to Green Star.  They were sought following consistent feedback from our members and industry.

The GBCA is working with both the Living Future Institute of Australia and with the International WELL Building Institute as well as other international organisations such as GRESB and Climate Bonds Initiative because we think the best way to go far is to go together.

While Green Star has made massive inroads into the Australian market – and 23% of our CBD office space is now Green Star certified – we need to keep challenging the industry to push the boundaries of best practice. Working with WELL and Living Building Challenge will help us do just that without reinventing the wheel.

We will certainly be looking at ways to create efficiencies within our rating systems, hence the MOUs, where natural synergies exist, but we won’t be looking at a singular rating process.

Q3: Is there potential to open these enhanced rating systems to include the ratings of single dwellings?

Green Star does not certify single dwellings, so at this stage, the collaboration is restricted to areas of mutual influence.

Secondly, Mary Casey has provided the following additional comments:

The benefits from a product manufacturer’s perspective are that our collaboration is intended to achieve better coordination between the rating systems, as well as to look at how we can achieve better outcomes faster by working together.

As noted in the above response, there have been great strides in materials over the last 15 years. I’d just add a comment that the progress has been the result of collaboration between organisations like your (Australian Living) readers and groups like ourselves. Rating tools have helped to create the market for green products, and we’ve enjoyed an expanded range of green materials available to projects as a result of your (Australian Living) response to our call. You guys (Australian Living) are part of this, too. Creating a shared vision of the future amongst the MOU partners, and asking the product industry to help us make it happen will, as it has before, lead the way to the next wave of change.

In addition, separate from building rating schemes, there are programs like Declare and Living Product Challenge which allow manufacturers to showcase the work they are already doing as well as prompt thinking about what else they might consider, and we’re looking forward to seeing their uptake in Australia.

Please note the above responses have not been altered in any way by the writers of this article, Australian Living.

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