About Green Star

Why Green Star? 

Rating Tools for Commercial Buildings

NZGBC is committed to setting standards of best practice and leadership through the development of environmental tools for buildings in New Zealand. Green Star is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating scheme that evaluates the environmental attributes of New Zealand's buildings using a suite of rating tool kits developed to be applicable to different building types and function.

The tools are developed by the NZGBC in partnership with the building industry to:

  • Establish a common language and standard of measurement for green buildings
  • Promote integrated, whole-building design
  • Raise awareness of green building benefits
  • Recognise environmental leadership
  • Reduce the environmental impact of development.

The Green Star suite of rating tools was designed to match the key phases in a building life cycle:

Design > Built

The tools address the needs of specific building types, such as office buildings, industrial buildings and education buildings, in the design phase and following construction, in the Built phase. 

The current tools assess the environmental impact that is a direct consequence of a building's site selection, design, construction, and maintenance. The framework has eight separate environmental impact categories plus an innovation category.

Credits are awarded within each of the categories based on the building's environmental merits in a range of areas and they take into consideration the unique development requirements and impacts of each sector.  Points are then weighted and an overall score is calculated, determining the project's Green Star rating.

Possible Ratings

  • 4 Star Green Star Certified Rating (score 45-59) signifies 'Best Practice'
  • 5 Star Green Star Certified Rating (score 60-74) signifies 'New Zealand Excellence'
  • 6 Star Green Star Certified Rating (score 75-100) signifies 'World Leadership'



The first Green Star rating tool was launched in New Zealand in 2007 with Green Star - Office Design. This tool was expanded in late 2008 to include Office Built compliance requirements, completing the second stage of the Green Star - Office suite of tools.

The Office Design tool rates the design of a building - it assesses what 'will' be built. Decisions made during the design phase set the project direction for incorporating green building practices into a project. Design certification is generally achieved prior to construction. The Office Built tool confirms that the environmental initiatives proposed at Design phase have been built. Submissions for Built certification will generally be after practical completion. The credit aims and criteria are the same for the Design and Built phases of the Green Star - Office rating. However, the compliance requirements, or types of evidence submitted, vary between the two stages.

What’s Innovative?

The Innovation Category is included within the Green Star rating tools as a way of encouraging, recognising and rewarding the spread of innovative technologies, designs and processes for building applications that exceed Green Star requirements.

 Innovation FAQ

There are three different Innovation Credits (for full details please refer to the Green Star Technical Manuals):

INN-1 Innovative Strategies and Technologies

  • Points are awarded where it is demonstrated that an innovative strategy or technology incorporated into the building has a significant quantifiable environmental benefit.
  • Does the application have systematic investigative and experimental activities?
  • Are high levels of technical risk associated with the innovation for the purposes of acquiring new knowledge or creating a new or improved material, product, device, process or service?

INN-2 Exceeding Green Star Benchmarks

  • Points are awarded where it is demonstrated that one or more existing Credit Criteria benchmark(s) are exceeded by a significant margin and where that improvement can be considered to have a commensurate additional environmental benefit.

INN-3 Environmental Design Initiatives

  • Points are awarded where it is demonstrated that an innovation or design feature provides a significant quantified environmental benefit that is not awarded points under other Credits within the Green Star tool.

Innovation Credits can be awarded at any time after the project is formally registered for a Green Star rating. Two rounds of assessment of the Innovation Credits are currently included in the base certification fee. However should a project wish to have further Innovation submissions assessed, a fee of $400 per innovation will be charged.



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