Setting Up Your Project for Green Star

Green Star serves as a comprehensive rating tool, distributing points across diverse performance and environmental categories to evaluate a project’s sustainability. eTool meets Green Star requirements and has proven effective in numerous projects throughout Australia and New Zealand. For projects striving for Green Star certification, eTool provides easy access to the points linked with the Life Cycle Impacts credit.

This article details the simple steps to set up your Green Star projects effortlessly in eTool, in particular Green Star Design & As Built and Green Star Interiors versions. For Green Star Buildings version, most of the project set-up aspects detailed below is applicable however there are several main points of difference. Please refer to this support post for more information Green Star Buildings: How to model in eTool.

For detailed guidance on how to model Reference and Proposed design for Green Star projects in eTool, please click on the links below:

Jump to the following sections in this post:

System Boundary

  • Green Star Design & As Built

Whole-of-life (cradle to grave) assessment including all life cycle modules (modules A to D) and scenarios as detailed in EN 15978 must be conducted. We generally recommend complying with EN15978 where all modules are in scope, including the optional scope items (B6+ in particular).

  • Green Star Interiors

It is also recommended to have all modules in scope. However, note that the modules relating to energy in the assessment is limited to the fit-out and tenancy loads only (no core building loads) as per Green Star Interiors requirements. This does not align with EN15978 (referenced by Green Star) but the scope specified is sufficient for Green Star reporting purposes. 

For more information, please refer to this support post: Choosing Your System Boundary and Scope

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LCI Source

For all Green Star projects, it is recommended to used the most recent version of the AusLCI default dataset. Our LCI data adheres to international standards, ensuring compliance with ISO 14044 and EN 15978, thereby meeting the Green Star requirements.

When adding EPDs to your study, please ensure that the LCI source used in the EPDs are consistent with the LCI source used for the rest of your study to remain aligned with LCA standates. For more information on the different types of LCI data, please download and read this article: LCI Data.

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Impact Categories

  • Main Indicators

According to Green Star guidelines, the impacts under the following categories shall be assessed for all Green Star project: Climate Change, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Potential, Acidification Potential of Land and Water, Eutrophication Potential, Photochemical Ozone Creation, Mineral Depletion (Abiotic Depletion Potential), Fossil Fuel Depletion (Abiotic Depletion Potential).

In eTool, all required indicators are included as default for the LCI Source used. Therefore, it can be left as default when you set up Green Star projects.

  • Additional Indicators

Extra points are up for grabs if you report on additional life cycle impacts. You can select which indicators to report when setting up the project, depending on different Green Star rating versions. For more information, please refer to this support post:  Additional Reporting for Green Star

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Grid Selection

For both Green Star Design & As Built and Green Star Interiors projects, appropriate regional grids should be chosen for the project site.

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In eTool, the default target Construction Scope and Energy and Water Scope at the Structure level is compliant with EN15978. 

  • Green Star Design & As Built (new build)

Whole-of-Building scope as defined in EN 15978, in particular section 7.5 ‘The Building Model’ must be included in the assessment. Thus, it is recommended to leave the target construction scope as default.


  • Green Star Design & As Built (additions to existing build or some unusual combos where the subfloors are shared with another building)

In this case, it is suggested to only include what has been included and modelled in the design to clearly define the scope.

  • Green Star Interiors

The entire scope of works for the fitout must be included in the assessment. Thus, you would have to update the target Construction scope and Energy and Water scope to reflect what has been included and modelled in the design. Note that this does not align with EN15978, however this will be sufficient for the purposes of Green Star Interiors reporting requirements.

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Service Life

According to Green Star guidelines, the service life required by the client or through regulations. If no required service life is defined, a default service life is to be applied.

  • Green Star Design & As Built: 60 years
  • Green Star Interiors: 10 years

In eTool, we have a built in ‘Service Life Calculator’ (in the ‘Details’ tab of your design) that will give you a ‘Predicted Service Life’ depending on what is input into the above fields. For Green Star projects situations where you have to limit your study to a specific period, you can activate the ‘User Defined Predicted Service Life’ button. This enables you to manually override the calculated years. For more information, please refer to this support post: Service Life.

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Building Function

For Green Star projects where the energy figures are calculated outside of the software (e.g. GHG calculator, NABERS reverse calculator, NatHERS pathway, Energy Modelling) and do not reference details in the eTool functions, for simplicity you only need to have ONE primary function and ONE supporting function for car parks (where applicable).

It is also important to note that Green Star Design & As Built credit calculation does not include carparks in the GFA even though the material and operational impacts need to be accounted for in the study. Therefore, you will need to add a supporting function to account for carpark areas to demonstrate that carpark areas have been left out from the primary function GFA. Depending on whether it is internal or external carpark, you can select suitable supporting function (e.g. Roadway for external carpark and Automobile Parking Facility for internal carpark). Note that external carparks and pavement areas do not fall under eTool definitions for GFA. However, it can be useful to have a dedicated function for those areas that won’t affect the total GFA.

Please make sure that ALL templates & inputs are only assigned to the primary function (none to carpark function). And for Green Star reporting, you select the PRIMARY function to report on which will automatically exclude the carpark floor areas in the results.

Most services of the functions are not applicable for the study as the Green Star GHG calculator is used however services of the functions relating to lighting (lux, artificially lit area & lighting run times) will need to be updated so that the relevant inputs will feed into the calculation of the material impact of lighting templates.

For more info, please refer to this support post:

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Functional Unit

  • Green Star Design & As Built

Impacts are assessed and reported on a per square metre (m2) project Gross Floor Area (GFA) basis. Therefore, functional unit settings in the design’s Primary function needs to be changed to m2GFA with no time scale. In addition, project teams may report on other functional units as desired.

Green Star Interiors

  • Impacts shall be assessed and reported on a per square metre (m2) of project Net Lettable Area (NLA) basis. Thus, functional unit settings should be m2NLA at no time scale.

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A comparative LCA study is required for Green Star projects, demonstrating the reduction of environmental impacts when the project building (Proposed Design) is compared to the reference building (Reference/BAU Design). The Reference Design is the benchmark. Thus, the benchmark design under the Functions tab for the Reference Design should be selected as “None”. When you’re modeling the Proposed Design, eTool will automatically specify the Reference Design as the benchmark.

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