At GECA, we are proud to have developed over 25 lifecycle ecolabel standards for a wide range of product and service categories. However, regional leadership in the built environment has been a significant driver behind many of our products and services.
Successful building schemes have had an important relationship with ecolabels and have also influenced our criteria. Many GECA certified products are appropriate for building interiors, for example, furniture, carpets, floor coverings and panel boards. We have also developed standards for cement and concrete, waste collection services, steel and more. These are critical materials for Australian buildings and infrastructure. They are also highly intensive in terms of impacts, including carbon.
We also support the industry on many working groups and advisory committees, including the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), and the Materials & Embodied Carbon Leaders’ Alliance (MECLA), to name but a few.
The manufacturers we represent are asked to demonstrate their leadership through certification, disclosure of ingredients, lifecycle analysis and environmental product declarations to prove their product or service is better for people and planet.
So, which building schemes are going strong in Australia, and how do they relate to GECA?
Launched by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in 2003, Green Star is Australia’s only national and voluntary rating system for buildings and communities. Green Star assesses the sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings, fitouts and communities. Green Star aims to improve environmental efficiencies in our buildings while boosting productivity, creating jobs and improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.
We were the first ecolabel to be recognised under the rating system, and many of our standards are eligible for credit points toward Green Star projects. Click here to download our brochure outlining how GECA certified products and services contribute to Green Star.
IS Rating Scheme
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) is the peak industry body for advancing sustainability in Australia’s infrastructure. ISC is a member-based, not-for-profit industry council and works to advance sustainability in infrastructure planning, procurement, delivery and operation through its IS Rating Scheme (IS). The scheme recognises GECA as an environmental labelling body and rewards project proponents who source GECA certified products and seek an IS certification.
We are very proud to be a member of ISC, which is creating positive change in the built environment through large infrastructure projects, including motorways, bridges and airports across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
WELL Building Standard (WELL v1 and v2)
The International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL Building Standard is growing in demand in Australia and throughout Asia. It focuses on health and wellness, not environmental aspects per se, but it is a significant driver for our ecolabelled interior products. We know that they do real-time testing for volatile organic compounds, and therefore the certification and validity of an ecolabel is critical to a project’s success. Many of our standards contribute to WELL Features such as VOC reduction and fundamental material safety.
Click here to download our brochure outlining how GECA certified products and services can contribute to meeting specific WELL Features.
The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) measures and rates an existing buildings’ impact on the environment, and our certification aligns with their Indoor Environment (Office Buildings) rating. In 2018, NABERS launched a whole building waste rating tool for offices. GECA, via the BBP, has worked with NABERS to align this waste rating tool with GECA’s Waste Collection Services standard.
The Living Building Challenge + Declare
The International Living Future Institute created the Living Building Challenge (LBC), represented in Australia by the Living Future Institute Australia (LFIA). The LBC calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be certified under the LBC, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements such as water, energy, waste and wellbeing. LFIA’s Declare label encourages the public declaration of information on where a product is made, its ingredients and end of life.
GECA and LFIA continue to work closely to incentivise and celebrate best practice products and materials for building projects. In this article, Dave Moolman, Regional Vice President of Shaw Contract Australia, shares his thoughts on the combined benefits of GECA certification and the Declare label.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a widely used and comprehensive system developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED framework ensures improved building efficiency and healthier living spaces for individuals and communities. It also focuses on the reduction of both embodied and operational emissions. Projects certified under its tiered certification system (Silver, Gold and Platinum) not only aspire to best industry practice but are motivated to do so while considering a whole of building lifecycle approach. GECA is an Organisational Member of USGBC.
GENICES & International Recognition
GECA is proud to be the only Australian member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), the leading network of the world’s most credible and robust lifecycle ecolabels. In 2004, GEN launched the Global Ecolabelling Network International Coordinated Ecolabelling System (GENICES), as a formal peer-review process based on ISO 14024 guidelines to benchmark member programmes as a basis for mutual trust.
GENICES recognition means GECA can benefit Australian manufacturers seeking third-party certification for their products in international markets. It also benefits Australian architects who are specifying for green building projects overseas. Architects working on green building projects in other countries can now specify GECA certified products and potentially gain points under the green building schemes of any international GENICES member country. This opens up increased opportunities within global green building markets, such as those governed by the Singapore Environment Council, the Hong Kong Green Council, the New Zealand Green Building Council and the Green Building Council South Africa.
GECA’s LCA Suite offers Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) services. Many specifiers, architects, and green building programs ask manufacturers for EPDs and incorporate EPD information into specifications. An EPD can assist in earning points in schemes such as Green Star, LEED, and the IS Rating Scheme. They can also help organisations achieve carbon neutral certification under the Australian Government’s Climate Active program.
EPD Australasia and GECA have an agreement that provides a mutual discount for GECA licensees registering an EPD with EPD Australasia and an EPD owner applying for GECA certification for their product.