GBCSA / Certify / Green Star Certification

Green Star Certification

An internationally recognised and trusted mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of buildings, interior fitouts and precincts

The Green Building Council develops the Green Star SA rating tools to provide an objective measurement for green buildings in South Africa and Africa. These tools recognise and reward environmental leadership in the property industry.

Our Green Star tools are created for each building type and support design professionals and developers in creating a better built environment for people and planet. The tools are based on 9 different categories, each with a range of credits that address environmental and sustainability aspects of designing, constructing and operating a building.

How does Green Star Work?

To rate a building or fitout’s overall environmental impact, Green Star rating tools award points across nine categories

Each category has a number of credits within it that each address specific green building aspects and actions. Each credit has points associated to it and a project team, via the AP, will target certain credits in each category. The targeted credits are then assessed and a score is calculated.

Weighting factors that are specific to each different tool are then applied to the score card to get the final rating. The weighting differs per tool to reflect the distinct environmental concerns in the different building sectors.

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1. Management

The credits within the management category promote the adoption of environmental principles from project inception, design and construction phases, to commissioning and operation of the building and its systems.

2. Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)

Each of the credits in the IEQ category target the well being of the occupants. The credits address how the heating, cooling, lighting and indoor air pollutants contribute to a healthier indoor environmental quality.

3. Energy

The credits within the energy category target an overall reduction in energy consumption and a reduction of green house gas emissions associated with energy generation.

4. Transport

The credits within the transport category reward the reduction in automotive commuting while encouraging use of alternative transport.

5. Water

All the water credits aim to reduce the use of potable water through design of efficient systems, rainwater collection and water re-use.

6. Materials

All the credits in the materials category target the consumption of resources through the selection and reuse of materials. The concept is to reduce the amount of natural resources used and reuse materials that can be reused or recycled.

7. Land Use & Ecology

All the credits in the land use & ecology section promote initiatives that improve or reduce the buildings impact on ecological systems and biodiversity.

8. Emissions

All the emissions credits target the environmental impacts of a developments emissions or substances emitted from the site.

9. Innovation

The innovation category encourages, recognises and rewards the spread of innovative technologies, designs and processes that impact on the overall environmental performance of the building.

10: Additional Category: Socio Economic

This additional category can be applied to all new building tools and rewards projects for developing and improving the socio-economic conditions around a project.

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Green Star Certification Process


Find a Green Star AP

An independent Green Star AP must be appointed by the project developer at market related rates to collate and submit the documents to GBCSA for review and certification.

Green Star AP are third-party professionals whose fees will be directly negotiated with the project developers and not set by GBCSA.


Select a Tool

The correct rating tool needs to selected in order to rate the project.

To comply, the project must reach the New Buildings Standard of a 20% improvement in energy, water, and embodied energy in materials as measured against current standard building regulations.


Register the Project with GBCSA for Green Star Certification

You or your selected Green Star AP will enter the project details into the GBCSA Certification Engine and select green options.


Collate & Submit 1

Project documents are reviewed and submitted by the Green Star AP to the GBCSA.


GBCSA Assessment & Feedback

The GBCSA reviews and provides feedback on project documentation. If the minimum 20% Standard is achieved on all three categories, the GBCSA will issue a preliminary design certificate (that will expire in two years’ time from this date).


Collate & Submit 2

Round 2 allows for  practitioners and building owners to provide more information or make limited amendments to their submission.


Project Green Star Certified

A certificate is issued to each certified project for both preliminary and post construction phases in order to publicly display your hard work!

Become an AP

Existing Building Performance (EBP)

This tool is focused on the operational phase of a building’s lifecyle

This tool is focused on the operational phase of a building’s lifecyle and ensures operations and management is brought to an optimal level of performance. The rating period is valid for three years to ensure the building is operated and maintained, and ratings are from one to six stars, with the view that EBP is a journey of continual improvement.

Typical initiatives involve energy and water monitoring, management policies and plans, and addressing the relationship between landlord and tenants through a win-win situation via the Green Lease Toolkit. The GBCSA’s free Energy Water Performance (EWP) tool allows the comparison of energy and water use in the building to industry standards, and helps inform investment decisions by benchmarking properties. This EWP tool is 40% of the EBP certification but is available as a separate certification of energy and water performance.

Become a GSAP EBP


This rating tool assesses the environmental attributes of any buildings’ interior fit-outs.

Tenants find it particularly useful as it allows independent benchmarking and rewards high-performance tenant spaces that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint.

This tool also caters for volume certification by pre-certifying data sheets and certain specifications for fit-outs that get rolled out to several branches.

Become a GSAP I

New Buildings and Major Refurbishments

This tool is specifically focused on the design features at the tender stage or construction stage of a building

It validates the environmental initiatives of the design phase or the construction and procurement phase of a new building construction or base building refurbishment. The project must reach the New Buildings Standard of a 20% improvement in energy, water, and embodies energy in materials as measured against current standard building regulations.

It aims to encourage the implementation of new and emerging technologies; reduce the environmental impact of development through direct and indirect initiatives, and; encourage a new approach to design and construction of buildings by rewarding best practice and excellence.

Become a GSAP NB

Sustainable Urban Precincts

This tool rates the environmental performance of the planning, design and construction phases of a precincts and neighbourhoods

This tool rates the environmental performance of the planning, design and construction phases of a precincts and neighbourhoods, rather than building-specific issues. Developed to influence and incentivise the creation and use of good design to enhance community and environmental outcomes. The early adoption and use of this tool in master-plan developments is often required to encourage best practice.

Credits within the tool assist in site selection, analysis and layout, and includes benchmarks for engaging with stakeholders in site planning.

Become a GSAP SUP

Green Star Custom

This rating tool is developed for the buildings types that don’t fit into the existing tools

Customised versions of the tool for New Buildings are:

  • Light industrial with office components
  • Hotel
  • Mixed Use

Customised versions of the tool for Existing Building Performance are:

  • Major tenants
  • Owner-occupied light industrial with office component

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Green Star Socio-Economic Category

This tool is an additional category available to interiors and all new buildings tools that recognise the socio-economic achievements and initiatives of green building projects

The tool can be applied to the developments or projects which qualify and meet the criteria for the Green Star tools of Office v1.1; Retail Centre v1; Multi-Unit Residential v1; Public & Education Building v1; Interiors v1; Custom Green Star Tools.

This category is available as separate certification and individual credits can also be used as innovation projects.

Become a GSAP NB

Green Star Africa

The Green Star rating system is a natural touch point for green building movements and councils in other parts of Africa

The GBCSA works in collaboration with emerging Green Building Councils throughout Africa and allows the adaption of the Green Star tools for certification in the respective countries. Each country develops and submits a Local Context Report for review by the GBCSA and once approved allows for projects within the specific countries to be certified using a Green Star tool, with the adaptions identified in the Local Context Report.Projects in Africa can register for Green Star certification where a Green Star Local Context Report has been prepared for that tool in that country and where the approved report is available on the GBCSA website.

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