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Introduction to Green Star

The built environment contributes as much as 20% of New Zealand's emissions. We're on a mission to change that

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Green Star is Australasia's largest voluntary sustainability rating system for non-residential buildings, fitouts and communities. 

With your help we can transform the way our commercial buildings are designed and built, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint and improving the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. To help make that happen we run the internationally recognised Green Star certification. 

Created by our friends at Green Building Council Australia in 2003, and adapted for Aotearoa New Zealand, Green Star provides a rating of up to six stars based on a building's key sustainability credentials.

Green Star certification is available for every commercial building type; from schools and hospitals, to office buildings, shopping centres, and industrial warehouses. It can even be used for large-scale community developments.

Homes are covered by our Homestar rating.

The right Green Star tool for you

Green Star is transforming the way our built environment is designed, constructed and operated.

Certification works toward:

  • Reducing the impact of climate change
  • Enhancing our health and quality of life
  • Restoring and protecting our planet's biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Driving resiliency in buildings, fitouts and communities
  • Contributing to market transformation and a sustainable economy

Whether you're embarking on a new project, planning an entire precinct, or just want to get the most from your existing space, Green Star has a framework to help guide you to a more sustainable result.

Design & As Built
Green Star for new non-residential buildings

The most commonly used Green Star rating, Design & As Built helps guide the sustainable design and construction of any new commercial build or major refurbishment - from schools and offices, to industrial facilities, shopping centres, hospitals and public buildings

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Green Star for large community developments

Transforming our neighbourhoods into green, prosperous spaces. Green Star Communities helps guide building and urban design at a neighbourhood, precinct, or community scale.

Green Star for your building fitout

Help ensure your interior fitout is done right, Green Star Interiors is for any type of fitout; offices hotels, schools, retail space - you name it.

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Green Star for your existing commercial building

While most Green Star certification types cover new buildings, you can also use it to assess the operational performance of your existing building


building or community certified to Green Star has proven it meets best practice sustainable design and uild benchmarks. With transparent, robust, and independent assessment we work to combat the risk of 'greenwashing' and distinguish those who are truly doing the mahi.

Taking up a Green Star certification demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Green Star continues to evolve in collaboration with the industry to ensure it incorporates new thinking, best practice, and meets the needs of the market.



Green Star goes beyond direct environmental impacts. While considering materials used, waste, and water efficiency, a Green Star certification also rewards initiatives that reduce carbon emissions, and incentivises features that benefit building users such as connected transport, indoor environment quality, and operational efficiency.

Certifying with Green Star can help reduce not just your carbon footprint but save ongoing operational costs, create a healthy productive place for people, and build a better future for us all.

Green Star can be used on large scale community development projects to embed social sustainability initiatives alongside environmental measures, and help ensure prosperous, connected, truly liveable neighbourhoods.


Guided by industry leaders

As the largest voluntary and truly holistic rating system for buildings, fitouts and communities in New Zealand, Green Star is regularly reviewed and challenged to give our members and their clients the confidence that they are working to the highest possible standards for sustainability.

We draw on the experience and expertise of our members to provide specialist technical advice, assist with the development and review of thought leadership papers in line with our vision and strategy, and evaluate the views of stakeholders through consultation

Find out more


Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals set out a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future with 17 goals to achieve by 2030. The Green Star credits align with many of these vital goals



How it works


Green Star is a holistic tool that awards points across various key performance and environmental categories to assess a project's sustainability. 

Projects must meet a number of mandatory benchmarks for a lower-carbon, higher-performing project, before using a combination of optional credits to achieve a rating. 


The total number of points awarded decides the final Green Star rating.

A final rating is awarded by a trained, independent assessor. While those targeting a Green Star Performance certification can receive ratings from 0-3, for all other Green Star tools the building will need at least 45 points (a 4 Green Star rating) to be successfully certified.



Keen to promote your Green Star building?

Check out our latest Brand Guidelines, or get in touch with the team

Frequently asked questions



Green Star was developed for the property industry in order to:

  • Establish a common language

  • Set a standard of measurement for sustainable buildings

  • Promote integrated, whole-building design;

  • Recognise environmental leadership

  • Identify building life-cycle impacts

  • Raise awareness of sustainable building benefits.

For all but Green Star Performance, registration should occur as soon as you are aware the project is likely to commit to certification.

Early registration ensures that the NZGBC can assign a dedicated member of our team to assist you through the certification process. It also helps to set up a clear target for project teams to pursue and hence lays a firm basis for sustainable design and construction.

Projects are reminded that they must receive certification within 3 years of registering their project (this can include Design certification).

Registration formalises the arrangement with the NZGBC for an assessment and certification to occur. Once registered, the NZGBC can support your project through the certification process and answer questions about the application of Green Star on your project, through an assigned NZGBC Technical Coordinator.

Registration is complete when the following has been done:

  • You have checked the Eligibility criteria and completed the registration form (we recommend you engaged a qualified Green Star professional to guide you through this process. See our professionals directory)

  • the Certification Fee has been paid

Green Star Accredited Professionals (or GSAPs) have the skills to work on projects targeting Green Star and make high-quality submissions as part of the rating. They help ensure the entire assessment process is a smooth, cost-effective and rewarding experience for all involved. A project team that includes a GSAP from the very beginning receives one bonus point towards their Green Star score.

All Green Star Accredited Professionals can be found here

Note that there are three different GSAP qualifications as listed below. Please make sure you choose the right person that can assist the type of your projects;  

  • Green Star Design and As Built – for new buildings   
  • Green Star Communities – for new precinct scale developments  
  • Green Star Performance- for existing buildings  
  • Green Star Interiors- Green Star for your building fitout 

If you would like to become a GSAP, please check out our Green Star Training 

The Green Star Certification fee is dependent on a few variables, such as what tool is to be used, the project’s contract value, or whether your organisation is an NZGBC member. A full rundown of the certification fees can be found on individual certification pages.

The following items are included:

  • The standard certification services from NZGBC including contracting of independent, third-party assessors.

  • Access to a technical coordinator for your project.

  • The certification certificate.

  • License to use the certification trademark once certified, to promote your project.

The following items are NOT included in the certification fee:

  • Project specific in depth technical assistance. This is usually done by the GSAP.

  • Additional items which are required for a project to receive Green Star certification including energy modelling, daylight modelling and water efficient appliances and hardware as examples.

Step 1: Engage A Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP)

All Green Star Accredited Professionals have been trained by the NZGBC to guide you through the Green Star process and support the achievement of your target rating. This is not required but highly encouraged.  You can find a GSAP here. 

Step 2: Ensure the project fulfills the eligibility requirements

Check out our eligibility requirements to verify your project can be certified - Design & As Built, Interiors, Performance, Communities

Step 3: Register and pay

Registering a project with NZGBC means our team is aware of the project and can provide support and guidance. It’s a good idea to register as early as possible. 

Registration for Green Star Design & As Built, and Green Star Interiors is available via the only form 

If you would like to register a Green Star Performance rating, please use this form.

If you're interested in certifying a large-scale community or neighbourhood project with Green Star Communities please contact the team.

Once your registration is accepted, you will be issued an invoice for the certification fee. A certification fee discount is available to project developers who are members of the NZGBC. More information about membership can be found here

Step 4: Design rating + submissions

In the case of a Design & As Built certification, a Design Review rating is provided to help confirm you are on the right track before the final certification. The initial certification fees cover both levels of assessment.  A Design Review rating will expire two years after the building’s practical completion.

All projects must undertake a Built rating. This is carried out once the project obtains practical completion and confirms that the finished project has been constructed in line with the Green Star rating. To undertake a Built rating, the GSAP gathers the appropriate evidence for each credit then submits the assessment to the NZGBC for Assessment.

Step 5: Assessment

Whatever level of assessment the project is undergoing, it will be assessed (audited) by an independent third party. For both the Design and Built rating a project can go through two rounds of assessment. 

Step 6: Certification

Once the final rating is confirmed by the Assessor, NZGBC notifies the project team and sends certificates and the appropriate logos to help share the good news

Before achieving certification you can promote your Green Star registered project in writing, but cannot use the Green Star logo or Green Star certification trade mark.

The Green Star certification trademark can only be used once the project is certified. Please get in touch if you have not received the appropriate logos upon certification.

Download our Brand Guidelines

Acceptable ways to market that your project has been registered is using the following wording This project is targeting a Green Star – Design & As Built  rating.” Please note projects cannot state which star rating they are attempting to achieve in marketing material. This can only be stated once the project has actually been certified and receives the specific Green Star rating.

If a project is not registered with NZGBC for a Green Star rating it cannot make any statements referring to Green Star.

Any unauthorized use of NZGBC’s trademarks may result in legal action.

Although highly encouraged, projects are not required to make their ratings public.

Submission Guidelines contain detailed information on credit requirements, documentation requirements, calculations, referenced standards and other resources.

If you are an NZGBC member looking for more details about a specific credit, please ensure you're logged in to our website, and visit the Technical Resources section of the Green Star certification you are interested in

If you are not an NZGBC member, please contact to purchase the Submission Guidelines. An electronic copy is $600+gst

We do not test, review, or provide eco-label certification for products and materials ourselves.

Instead, we use authoritative third-party certification bodies and eco-labels, and incentivise the use of products that have undergone these assessments by awarding points towards a Green Star rating.

Products recognised in Green Star:

  • Eco-label certified materials and products

  • Products with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

  • Reused materials

  • Materials with high recycled content

  • Responsibly sourced materials with certifiable stewardship programmes

  • Low emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

NZGBC approved eco-labels

We'd encourage product and material suppliers to get certified under one of our approved eco-labels or generate an Environment Product Declaration.

For new buildings, Green Star Design & As-Built looks at carbon from both operational, energy use and embodied carbon in materials.

  • Carbon Emissions from Operational Energy Use: The ‘Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ credit in Design & As-Built uses carbon as the metric. A percentage reduction in carbon emissions (when compared to a code-compliant benchmark building), correlates to a certain number of points awarded, with the maximum number of points awarded for 100% reduction (i.e. Net Zero Carbon).  
  • Embodied Carbon Emissions: The Embodied Carbon Emissions credit recognises projects reduction of upfront carbon emissions and long-term storage of carbon in construction materials as a method of temporarily removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The assessment and reduction of both carbon and other environmental impacts are rewarded throughout the whole life of the building.  
  • Comparative Life Cycle Assessment: The Life Cycle Assessment credit recognises projects that reduce the carbon impact of their project through materials selection, among other environmental impacts. The prescriptive pathway also recognises embodied carbon reductions through specification of concrete with lower cement content (the most carbon intensive component of concrete) and careful design of structural steel systems to reduce the overall mass of steel used.  
  • Innovation Challenges: encouraging projects to target carbon zero (embodied/ operational) and carbon positive targets.  

For existing buildings, CarboNZero certification can be achieved through Green Star Performance criteria to recognise existing buildings that operate to a carbon zero/ neutral standard.   

Yes. We have all sorts of training that fit for different purposes. Training information can be found here

Find out more

The next iteration of Green Star - Green Star Buildings NZ
Find out more about the next version of Green Star to be launched in 2024
Case studies
Get inspired by other Green Star projects across Aotearoa New Zealand
Green Star training
Join the growing community of Green Star professionals, assessors and auditors

Find a Green Star professional

Dozens of industry professionals have been trained in all the ins and outs of Green Star, providing comprehensive knowledge of the criteria and how to apply it to your project.

I want to certify a home

While Green Star only caters to commercial buildings and communities, our Homestar certification offers a trusted, independent assessment of new home sustainability