History & innovation

Green Star continues to evolve as knowledge and industry capability grows and technology improves. 


Green Star recognises innovation and efforts to carve out new ways of building sustainably. Often these sit outside the current benchmarks laid out in the tool, however points are awarded under a seperate 'Innovation' credit. This recognises new initiates with a significant sustainability benefit.

Each project can submit up to 10 innovations to be considered for approval, for a maximum of 10 points towards a Green Star rating.

If you have an idea for an innovation in your project, we encourage you to talk to us as early in the process as possible.

How to claim Innovations

  1. After reviewing the section for Innovation in the Green Star Submission Guidelines, your Green Star Accredited Professional will then need to registers a project’s interest in targeting an Innovation with the NZGBC.
  2. You will then need to submit a completed Innovation submission using the template below. This outlines the initiative, its sustainability benefits and relevance in New Zealand.
  3. Documentation will then need to be submitted for assessment after registration but before Round Two).

Project teams can provide partial documents or full documents in a 'Pre-Round One' or 'Pre-Round Two' review for each proposed innovation. If the innovation is granted conditionally pending further documentation, all the remaining documents need to be provided in either Round One or Round Two assessment. Innovations can't be targeted after Round Two.

Innovation Challenges

In addition to innovations claimed by projects, both Green Star and Homestar have published a list of innovation challenges. These recognise initiatives that don’t currently fit in to the main framework of these tools but that we believe are important to encourage and recognise. They cover environmental, social and economic sustainability initiatives. While some challenges only apply to some tools, others across all our tools. Several current innovation challenges were originally published by the Green Building Council of Australia for Green Star projects there, but have been adapted for Green Star and Homestar projects in New Zealand.

Click here to go see the Table of Innovation Challenges

You are welcome to submit a new challenge relating to sustainability issues you would like to address

 Contact the team

Submission template

This submission template is developed to assist your project with an innovation submission – these will be submitted to us by your GSAP (Green Star Accredited Professional).

Innovation record

We’ve already recognised some incredible New Zealand buildings for innovative design and strategies.

List of previously awarded Innovation points. Updated April 2021

Example submissions

These submissions, from NZGBC’s own office fit-out, will give you an idea of what NZGBC expects.

ExceedingIEQ-C: credit template and submission documents

Beyond Green Star

History of Green Star

Green Star has been used in New Zealand since 2007. The New Zealand version of Green Star was adapted from Australia's Green Star tool. A version of Green Star is also used in South Africa.

Since its introduction in 2007, there have been several updates and changes to Green Star NZ to ensure it incorporates new thinking and practice, and meets the needs of the market.

2007 The Green Star Office Design tool launches. Wellington's Meridian Building and 80 Queen St in Auckland are the first rated (both achieve 5 Green Star).
2008 Green Star Built is added - providing a rating for construction as well as design.
2009 Green Star Education tool launches. NZi3 University of Canterbury is the first education site rated, obtaining 5 Green Star.

The Green Star Industrial and Office Interior tools launch, and the Office Design tool is revised.

Westpac on Takutai Square (4 Green Star) becomes the first building to get both Design and Built ratings, while the first industrial rating goes to the Courier Post Building, Highbrook (4 Green Star).

The NZI Centre in Auckland gets the first Interiors rating (5 Green Star). And at the end of 2009, the first 6 Green Star is awarded to the Geyser Building in Parnell - representing world leadership.

2010 The first schools are awarded 5 Green Star: Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Whangaroa in Northland and Ormiston Senior School in Auckland.
2011 BNZ Harbour Quays in Wellington gets the first 6 Green Star Interiors rating.
2012 Green Star "spring clean" projects reduce the time and cost for certification. The tool framework is expanded to cover non-typical custom projects.
2013 The first 6 Green Star trifecta is awarded to the Te Hononga, the Christchurch Civic Building - gaining a "world leadership" 6 Green Star for design, built and interiors. It's only the third building in Australasia to achieve the triple honour.
2014 The first "world leadership" 6 Green Star education rating is achieved by Te Whare Whenua Te Mirumiru in Kawakawa.

The first custom rating is awarded to the Forte Health Building in Christchurch - also New Zealand's first Green Star health facility.

Green Star reaches 100 rated projects throughout New Zealand.

2015 Green Star - Version 3 launches, updating the tool and introducing Innovation Challenges.
2016 Green Star - Communities is adapted from Australia for use in New Zealand.
2017 Green Star - Performance is adapted from Australia for use in New Zealand.
2018 Green Star reaches a total certified area of 1 million square meters throughout New Zealand. 
2019 Green Star Design &As Built NZv1.0 and Green Star Interiors NZv1.0 are adapted from Australia for use in New Zealand.