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Building rating systems

Agencies must use a sustainable building rating system for new government owned non residential buildings.

Carbon Neutral Government Programme

The Carbon Neutral Government Programme (CNGP) is a long-term work programme that aims to make a number of government organisations carbon neutral by 2025.

The priority is to reduce emissions by:

  • phasing out coal fired boilers from the public sector
  • optimising the government fleet and transitioning to electric vehicles
  • requiring the use of NABERSNZ by property mandated agencies that occupy large office space
  • requiring agencies to use approved sustainable building rating systems for new government owned non-residential buildings.

Carbon Neutral Government Programme - Ministry for the Environment Manatū Mō Te Taiao

Sustainable building rating systems

Sustainable building rating systems (rating tools) consider a broad range of environmental and social factors, and provide a benchmark against which a buildings sustainability performance can be considered. The main benefit of rating tools is that they encourage a targeted focus on key areas, such as reducing embodied and operational carbon, and consistent application of processes to support achieving sustainable outcomes.

Building for climate change programme

The use of rating tools, with a targeted focus on reducing embodied and operational carbon, supports the longer term intent of the building for climate change programme.

Building for climate change - Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki

National Australian Built Environment Rating System New Zealand (NABERSNZ)

Agencies that are subject to the Property Functional Lead mandate with office accommodation over 2,000m2 are required to begin the NABERSNZ assessment process at the next available opportunity (such as a lease renewal). NABERSNZ is designed to rate the operational energy and energy-related emissions performance of office buildings once they have been built and are in use. The introduction of rating tools is complementary to the requirement to use NABERSNZ.

What and when – phased introduction

Procurement mandated agencies are required to use an approved sustainable building rating tool when building a new government owned non-residential building with an estimated capital value of:

  • $25 million and over from 1 April 2022
  • $9 million and over from 1 April 2023.

List of approved rating systems

Procurement mandated agencies are those agencies that are required to apply the Government Procurement Rules.

Rule 5: Who the Rules apply to

Check if a project is in scope

This tool will assist you in determining if a project is in scope of this policy.

Will the building be government owned?

Types of buildings in scope

This requirement applies to new government owned non residential buildings which are being built and will be owned by agencies.

The term building has the same meaning as in section 8 of the Building Act 2004. The exclusions set out in Clause A2 of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 1992 apply.

Building Act 2004 - New Zealand Legislation

Building Regulations 1992 - Clause A2 - Interpretation - New Zealand Legislation

Green Star NZ Design and As Built (Green Star) can be used to rate most new non residential building types, including mixed use developments. Any buildings that are ineligible for a Green Star rating are not within scope of this policy.

Find out more information about Green Star NZ Design and As Built - Eligibility Criteria [PDF, 200 KB] - New Zealand Green Building Council Te Kaunihera Hanganga Tautaiao

If you need clarification on how a specific type of building fits within the Green Star rating tool, email the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Agencies must adopt the use of the Green Star rating tool to the extent possible. However, there may be limited circumstances where an agency considers it may not be appropriate due to the particular building’s use or type or is ineligible for Green Star certification. New Zealand Government Procurement is developing guidance for building exemptions that will be available in early 2022.

List of approved rating systems

Approved rating system Administered by and contact details
Green Star NZ Design and As Built New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC)
New Zealand Green Building Council
Email: greenstarnz@nzgbc.org.nz

New Zealand Government Procurement is responsible for maintaining the list of approved rating tools.

Guidance on how other sustainable building rating tools can be assessed and approved by New Zealand Government Procurement is being developed and will be in place by 1 July 2022.

Green Star NZ Design and As Built rating and minimum points requirements

When using the Green Star rating tool agencies will need to certify the design and build to a minimum 5 star Green Star rating.

Green Star operates on a system of 100 points, plus 10 innovation points. Reaching a 5 star rating requires achieving 60-74 points.

When reaching a 5 star Green Star rating, agencies are required to achieve minimum points for the following Green Star credits:

Credit Minimum points required
Credit 15: Greenhouse gas emissions 8 of 20 points
Credit 19: Life cycle impacts/Life cycle assessment credit 4 of 7 points
Credit 22: Construction and demolition waste 1 of 1 point
Credit 8B: Operational waste 1 of 1 point
Credit 2: Commissioning and tuning 2 of 4 points
Credit 9: Indoor air quality 1 of 4 points
Credit 14: Thermal comfort 1 of 2 points
Total minimum points 18 out of 39

Agencies can make up the remaining points in areas that are aligned with their strategic or operational objectives.


There are some costs associated with using the Green Star rating tool to certify a building.

  1. Certification costs: These are costs paid to New Zealand Green Building Council for independent audit and certification. Find out more about more about certification costs below.
  2. Consultant costs: These are costs associated with collating documentation for submission to New Zealand Green Building Council. If you integrate Green Star into the project early – before you engage consultants – ensure these costs are built into the fees quoted for the project.
  3. Other costs: There are likely to be upfront capital costs associated with building to the required 5 Star standard.

Green Star certification fees - New Zealand Green Building Council Te Kaunihera Hanganga Tautaia

Project exemptions

Agencies may apply for an exemption, in limited circumstances, before 1 April 2022 where:

  • a project detailed business case, single stage business case or a comparable detailed agency business case is well advanced but has not been approved and
  • there will be a significant delay to the project that will be contrary to public interest.

Applications for a project exemption:

  • may be submitted to New Zealand Government Procurement
  • will be referred to the Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Minister of Climate Change and the relevant Portfolio Minister to approve or decline.

Guidance on project exemptions lock-icon

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