As principal sustainability consultant for Jacobs New Zealand, Amanda Bryan has helped guide and evaluate Britomart’s journey towards achieving an impressive initial three Green Star Performance rating.
What’s your role with Jacobs Consultancy?
As Principal Sustainability Consultant for Jacobs, my role is based across Australia and New Zealand. Essentially I focus on delivering sustainable outcomes and bring systemic and strategic thinking to how we do that.
What capacity have you been working with Britomart?
Jacobs have been engaged by Britomart to provide support and guidance. We review documentation and provide guidance in and around the Green Star submission requirements. With Britomart being the first company in New Zealand to adopt the Green Star Performance Tool, we’re also reviewing Britomart submission and connecting the delivery across to the New Zealand Green Building Council. The other thing we’ve done completed a few credits on Britomart’s behalf, and written technical queries (TQ). A TQ is written to clarify the technical manual guidance when your project doesn’t quite fit into the technical manual requirements. It is a process in which you query the NZGBC to accept the differences.
And Britomart, as the first company to adopt the tool in a holistic way, is something of a test case, right?
They call it piloting. Britomart will be one of the first Green Star Performance Ratings in New Zealand. There are other companies using the GSPT as a review tool at the moment, but Britomart has been really testing it and putting a bit of rigour around its viability in the New Zealand industry, which is good. They’re getting it verified to say, “We’re actually doing it, and here’s the confirmation.”
Britomart has been awarded three stars out of a possible six for its first Green Start Performance rating. What does that mean?
To get an outcome of three stars is really amazing, and it’s an extraordinary effort for a first GSP rating. I can understand that people might perceive it as an ‘average’ rating as the scale goes up to six stars, but it’s not. The tool has not been well-used and adapted to the New Zealand market yet. What Britomart Group are doing is really challenging the tool at the moment.
When the Green Building Council Australia (GBCA) Green Star Performance Tool first came out to market and the industry went through a similar process, clients and companies I worked with were only getting zeros or one stars. Three is actually really amazing because it’s a new tool to industry. Britomart is finessing their already-good practices in accordance with what the New Zealand Green Building Council want to see. They’re really close to being better than a three-star too. The performance is likely to go up quickly as Britomart gets more documentation in order over the years. But three stars at a first pass with no existing frameworks in industry is actually a really great outcome.
The Green Star Performance Tool is a progressive tool – what does that mean?
The NZGBC are looking at releasing a revision of the GSPT and when they do that, the goalposts might change. When they release a revision, they do review some of the compliance and performance requirements that you’re measured against. But I don’t think that will change much for Britomart.
So Britomart’s feedback about how the tool works in the New Zealand market is useful for the New Zealand Green Building Council?
The work Mark Sinclair [Director of Sustainability at Britomart] is doing right now is challenging what the tool’s status is and its applicability to the NZ market. When he goes back to the NZGBC on a point, they consider it and the outcome of challenging this may result in the tool being updated. Britomart is actually pushing the benchmark and challenging the boundaries.
Do you have a specific example of that?
This tool originated from the Green Building Council of Australia for the Australian market. With Britomart challenging the tool, it enables better alignment with the New Zealand market.
Throughout the submission process, several credits have been challenged, ranging from understanding the technical manual rules and application to the New Zealand market through to how you may achieve a point. For example, the way the technical manual was written around the ecological credits implied that buildings needed a green roof to achieve the point. However through discussions and demonstrating Britomart has extensive exterior landscaping that relate to the buildings that the points are being targeted for, and the technical manual rulings have been updated to reflect the outcome of this discussion.
Implementing the GSPT can be challenging for a business to take on. What’s the key benefit for businesses in being audited and published?
From a consulting perspective, one of the challenges we have is education around the tool and the value of it and how that value applies to the industry. It is hard when [a tool like this] first comes out. But to me, the verification process demonstrates that you’re walking the talk and your business is serious about sustainability. By getting the GSPT verified, Britomart is demonstrating that they’re walking the talk and taking sustainability seriously, and that they’re collaborating with the NZGBC to improve the standards here.
Has Britomart been doing anything else notable as part of this journey?
Mark has done some really good work around his metering system and getting it online on the dashboard and getting the visibility around that. That’s a real innovative thing to do in the New Zealand industry, The transparency and level of detail Mark is going into is definitely not typical practice.