Green Star New Build V2: the Healthy and Places categories

Green Star New Build V2: the Healthy and Places categories

The Green Star New Build V2 rating tool, piloted at the end of 2023, expands the minimum requirements that need to be met by project teams seeking this certification. Here, Adrie Fourie and Annelidé Sherratt share their expert insights.

The New Build V2 tool’s minimum requirements work collectively towards four core principles:

  1. Performance
  2. Responsible Design and Construction
  3. Health and Wellbeing
  4. Protection and Conservation of Ecological Value

Highlighting Health

By Annelidé Sherratt, Director of the Healthy category and Head of Solid Green’s Green Building Certifications department

Annelidé Sherratt

Our work and living spaces have a significant impact on how we feel physically, emotionally and psychologically. The Healthy Category underscores the significant role the built environment can play in enhancing the wellbeing of its inhabitants.

Contributing factors are:

  • the level and source of light
  • the quality of the air
  • how noisy the environment is
  • the opportunities that exist for activity
  • connection to natural spaces
  • choice of materials

The recent study ‘Examining the impact of indoor environmental quality on individual productivity of knowledge workers in green certified buildings’ (Nurick, S. and Thatcher, A., 2023, Journal of Corporate Real Estate) explores the link in South Africa between indoor environmental quality and productivity of green offices. Using a case-study approach focused on the financial services sector, the research found that control of ambient noise levels and temperature, as well as quality lighting, were all drivers of productivity, while access to nature provides a positive contribution to psychological well-being. Furthermore, a high-quality indoor environment increases the comfort, wellbeing and health of its users. In a workplace, this can lead to increased work-engagement, and facilitates a strong organisational culture – which, in-turn, promote increased productivity, attraction and retention of employees.

In the second version of the Green Star tool, the application of new minimum requirements in the Healthy category aim to transform the market towards better IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) controls.

The intention of the minimum requirements is to set a baseline that propels the industry forward and recognises excellence. Emphasis is placed on implementing these requirements from the outset of a project in order to avoid additional costs if these measures are implemented later as an afterthought.

Minimum requirements for the Healthy category are*:

  • Healthy indoor air quality conditions must be achieved and maintained by minimising the concentration and recirculation of pollutants in the building. This is achieved by keeping acceptable levels of indoor pollutants, providing high levels of fresh air and minimising pollutants entering the building.
  • The building must provide good daylight and glare control while offering high-quality lighting.
  • The building’s occupants must not be directly exposed to VOC toxins in regularly occupied spaces. This is achieved by installing low-VOC or non-toxic paints, adhesives, sealants and carpets.

A Sense of Place

By Adrie Fourie, Director of the Places category and Head of Solid Green’s Sustainable Cities & Research department

Adrie Fourie

By 2050, cities are projected to accommodate two-thirds of the global population. Significant changes are needed to handle the surge in population, address the strains on aging infrastructure, and adequately meet residents’ essential requirements for housing and access to vital services such as clean water and sanitation.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) delineate our shared global aspirations for future development. SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) specifies “new, intelligent urban planning that creates safe, affordable and resilient cities with green and culturally inspiring living conditions”. People-centred placemaking is a pivotal strategy that aligns with this vision and is integrated into the PLACES category.

The introduction of this new category is prompting the market to transform. Projects are given the chance to prioritise people in design, and project teams are rewarded for the qualitative socio-economic advantages of sustainable design. By developing well-conceived public places, projects can help to create dynamic, integrated, functional urban fabric that enriches the end-user’s experience, enhances movement, and bolsters economic activity.

People-centred placemaking, as an extension of green building design, offers a holistic approach to shaping cities of the future. We can create sustainable and liveable urban spaces by considering the contributions buildings make to specific locations such as:

  • integrating with existing transport systems
  • encouraging active modes of transport such as walking and cycling
  • incorporating culture and heritage
  • ensuring safety and security

This approach prioritises the well-being and needs of residents, furthers social inclusion, fosters a strong sense of community, and enhances the overall quality of life in cities.

The minimum requirement for the Places category is contained within the first credit – Contribution to Place – and projects will specifically be asked to undertake the following:

  • The project team completes the Site Context Pre-Screening Checklist provided on the certification engine.
  • The project team communicates the building’s urban contextual indicators to the applicant.
  • The project team compiles a community organisation inventory.

For more information on the Green Star New Build V2 rating tool, or to find out how we can support you in pursuing your Green Star targets, please reach out to us here.

*RAISING the Green Star bar – +IMPACT Magazine (

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