A NZ first: Auckland gets the ball rolling on Green Star Communities – who is next?

04 February 2020

New Zealand’s largest city has taken sustainable development to the next level with the country’s first certified Green Star Community.

For well over a decade the New Zealand Green Building Council has been passionately advocating and promoting sustainable, green building in Aotearoa. It’s 2020 and we’re really starting to see the ship change course, not just for commercial buildings but residential as well. Now people are also starting to see the benefits of looking at sustainable development on a larger scale.   

Shortly before Christmas NZGBC alongside our Australian counterparts GBCA awarded Panuku Development Auckland not just one, but two 5 Green Star Communities ratings for its Henderson and Takapuna projects. As the major development arm of Auckland Council, Panuku is helping shape the growing city’s future and how those who live there interact and engage with their environment.

New Zealand now has its first certified sustainable communities projects. It’s an exciting step forward in achieving a lower carbon future, and one where our people are safe, healthy, and prepared for a changing climate.

A Green Star Communities rating considers a raft of different things, including liveability, local employment, access to fresh food, opportunities to meet other people, exercise and spend time outside. It considers not just the planning but also public consultation, design and construction. It helps neighbourhoods not only reduce their impact on our environment, but also create healthy, happy communities.

A 4 Star rating is considered best practice, 5 Star shows national excellence, and a 6 Star rating is world-leading.

A key part of Green Star Communities is that once certified, projects must re-certify every five years to demonstrate that commitments made at the planning and design stages are delivered.

There’s also no doubt that Panuku’s leadership in this space will have a ripple snowball effect. Already NZGBC is working alongside others wanting to ensure their new large-scale developments are healthy, happy communities. This is incredibly exciting and couldn’t be more timely. We’ve got a long way to go in reducing our emissions and not long to do it.

If New Zealand is to reach a sustainable, low-carbon future, others will need to follow Panuku’s lead both for the good of the planet and for the benefit of our tamariki and mokopuna.

About Green Star Communities