green and

1 Bligh Street, Sydney, Australia. Awarded six-star green status by the Green Building Council of Australia.

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Rockefeller Center, New York City. Using energy efficient technology developed in Australia

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Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia One of the World's greenest buildings

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Perth Arena, WA Uses the latest technology and research in sustainability

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The Watercube, Beijing, China Designed by Australian Architects for the Beijing Olympics

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Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre achieved a 6 Star Green Star, Convention Centre PILOT rating

Leaders in
innovation and

Australia is at the forefront of green building and sustainable building practices using design and planning processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient.

The 2000 Sydney Olympics drew world attention to Australian capabilities and expertise in this area. Since then, Australian green building expertise has continued to deliver practical and commercial benefits, both domestically and internationally.

The Australian green building industry is an ideal partner in developing sustainable projects around the world.

This industry capability statement gives you an overview of Australian capability in the green building industry, including a snapshot of some of the many Australian companies with specialist expertise.

Talk to your local Austrade representative for tailored advice and information on connecting and partnering with the Australian green building industry.


The Australian green building industry has evolved from a niche sector focusing on single dwellings to an established industry encompassing large scale projects, communities and cities. Australia's clear and accurate guidelines on building environmentally sustainable structures continue to support growth in the green building market.

Australian firms are delivering high performance sustainable buildings, communities, precinct developments and cities that provide better productivity, health and wellbeing for occupants. These firms are leveraging partnerships to penetrate export markets and are providing expertise to urban projects throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, North America, China, Singapore, India and the Middle East.

The maturity of the market is demonstrated by the strength of the Green Building Council of Australia, and the widespread adoption of its Green Star rating tool – a voluntary national environment rating system.

From offices to retail centres and from schools to hospitals, over 550 projects (eight million square metres) have received Green Star certification.

Using this system, over 20 per cent of Australia's CBD office space is certified green.

And green buildings are providing benefits beyond the environment. By incorporating green building design, governments and corporations can reap practical and commercial benefits by lowering operating costs, increasing building values and improving return on investment, further stimulating the demand for greener tenancies, buildings and precincts.

"Within the Australian market there's a real appetite for innovation and that doesn't just mean the latest technology, it means new ways of approaching solutions, new ways of thinking about things, or new ways of dealing with very old, very original challenges."
Robin Mellon
Executive Director of Advocacy and Business Services, Green Building Council of Australia

The Australian Property Institute's Building Better Returns report showed Green Star certified buildings can reduce outgoings by 1.5 per cent, while increasing rental values by 5 per cent and sales values by 12 per cent.

Green buildings can also benefit occupant health and improve productivity levels while their minimal uptake of resources reduces waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

  • Some of the business benefits of green building design are:

  • Lower operating costs

  • higher return on investment

  • greater tenant attraction

  • productivity benefits

  • reduced liability and risk

  • healthier places to live and work

  • future-proofed assets.

Benefits of green building design.
"Australian engineers and architects are some of the world's best experts in sustainability, so we've got an incredible amount of experience and a very practical approach."
Megan Motto
Chief Executive Officer
Consult Australia

Industry Strengths

The harsh Australian environment has driven innovation and expertise in green and sustainable building. With climatic conditions varying widely due to its large geographic size, Australians are experienced in managing scarcity and working with climate extremes. Energy, water and resources are priorities.

The country's design and building industry has developed considerable experience in creating resource-efficient buildings that perform well in extreme conditions, and are now taking this expertise to the world. Well-known Australian green and sustainable projects include the Beijing National Aquatics Centre (the Watercube) and Arya Residences in the Philippines.

Australian expertise in green and sustainable building encompasses a range of industries including: healthcare, education, infrastructure, industrial, public buildings, residential, commercial and sporting facilities.

Australia has considerable experience in creating resource efficient buildings, performing well in extremes of climate.

Abundant rainfall, cold temperatures

Distribution of harsh
environments in

Desert, hot temperatures

Australian companies are leading practitioners in:

  • masterplanning and precinct planning
  • sustainable building design
  • innovative environmental sustainable development engineering
  • project management and technical services
  • water capture, saving and storage systems
  • energy efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
  • insulation including thermal mass regulation products
  • energy-efficient hot-water systems including solar and heat-pump systems
  • building management systems
  • provision of recycled, low toxicity and modular building products for construction.

The strength of the Australian green building industry is underscored by a rigorous and organised approach to measuring, rating and benchmarking building design and performance – the Green Star rating tool.

Green Star is a comprehensive, national, voluntary environmental rating system that evaluates the environmental design and construction of Australian buildings and communities. It has drawn on existing systems and tools in international markets including the British BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) system and the North American LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system.

"How to do more with less while incorporating green and sustainable design principles is one of the most pressing concerns facing the building industry today. Australian architects are leading the way, garnering international renown for their innovative, creative and, above all, sustainable solutions to this major challenge of our times."
David Parken
Australian Institute of Architects


Australian universities and research institutions are among the world's best, producing leading edge innovation in the built environment. They offer significant opportunities for investment and collaboration, especially in innovation and commercialisation. Examples include:

CSIRO, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

NICTA (National ICT Australia) pursues high-impact research excellence and, through application of this research, creates national benefit and wealth for Australia.

SMART Infrastructure Facility is the national centre for infrastructure solutions. SMART stands for ‘Simulation, Modelling, Analysis, Research and Teaching'. SMART recognises that large scale infrastructure investments in Australia and public policy development must be based on rigorous, evidenced-based research.

SMaRT@UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology brings together researchers from the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Built Environment and ADFA to work with industry on the development of innovative, sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Case studies

Green and sustainable
building projects

Energy efficient technology

Case study: Rockefeller Center, New York City

In Australia, more than 60 per cent of energy consumption in commercial buildings comes from heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). To meet this challenge, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) researchers developed OptiCOOL, which is helping building owners across Australia and the United States to reduce their energy consumption, while improving occupant comfort. The system intelligently alters the operation of a building's HVAC control system according to settings for cost savings, occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

Argonne National Laboratory in the United States independently tested OptiCOOL and found that the system reduced HVAC energy consumption by up to 45 per cent.

Under exclusive license to CSIRO start-up company BuildingIQ, OptiCOOL technology is relatively easy and cost effective to retrofit to large office buildings. It is now installed in around 1.4 million square metres of commercial building space including the Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Sustainable infrastructure

Case study: Canberra Airport, Australian Capital Territory

The innovative new Canberra Airport terminal has been built with a key focus on sustainability. Two tri-generation plants are used to produce electricity for the terminal. Two 650,000 litre water tanks are used to collect rain and ground water which is then used for irrigation and toilets. The 400Hz system allows aircraft when on the ground to power down which reduces aircraft carbon emissions. The lighting system in the terminal, DALI – Directly Addressable Lighting Interface – saves energy by dimming lights not in use.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Sustainable infrastructure

Case study: Helix Bridge, Singapore

Helix Bridge, Singapore, was constructed by Australian firm Cox Raynor Architects, with Arup and Architects 61, for the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The Helix Bridge is formed by a unique double spiral structure which integrates canopy, deck and lighting and offers protection from the extremes of tropical climate. The strength of the ‘DNA' structure enabled significant savings in steel tonnage and minimised deck thickness.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Sustainable convention centres

Case study: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre achieved a 6 Star Green Star – Convention Centre PILOT rating in June 2009.

A range of ingenious designs means MCEC can cut down where it counts – on carbon emissions. Everything from its heating and cooling to its water systems are green.

By utilising features such as solar hot water and renewable power, the building helps organisers reduce the emissions of their events.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Green healthcare facilities

Case study: New South Wing, Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia

New South Wing became Australia's first Green Star healthcare facility, providing positive proof that green healthcare facilities are affordable and achievable.

Designed by architecture firm, Woodhead, the facility boasts environmental features such as a 286 solar panel system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,100 tonnes each year, and energy costs by around A$200,000 each year.

South Australian Health Minister, John Hill, said that "New South Wing's designers have risen to the challenge and built a terrific facility which places patients and the environment front and centre".

Green and sustainable
building projects

Innovative commercial property solutions

Case study: 313@somerset, Singapore

Lend Lease opened its A$1 billion retail development, 313@somerset, on Orchard Road, in December 2009. The centre received the highest sustainability recognition in Singapore, receiving a Green Mark Platinum Award from the Singapore Building and Construction Authority.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Energy efficient technology

Case study: Perth Arena, Western Australia

A new sporting arena in Perth has opened which uses the latest technology and research in sustainability.

Australian architecture firm Cameron Chisholm Nicol collaborated with ARM Architecture and have included strategies such as displacement ventilation, mixed-mode air-conditioning and one of Western Australia's largest arrays of photo-voltaic cells on the ceiling. The building is designed to allow natural light and cool air is filtered from underneath the seats.

Green and sustainable
building projects

World-leading sporting facility design and construction

Case study: Watercube, National Aquatics Centre, Beijing, China

Australian firm PTW Architects designed the award-winning National Aquatics Centre (known as the Watercube) for the Beijing Olympics. The facility was developed in collaboration with Chinese practices CSCEC and CCDI, and international firm Arup.

The Watercube featured a number of innovative green design features, including utilising solar energy to heat spaces, energy recovery systems and the use of rainwater harvesting.

The building's membrane is made from ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) 'pillows' measuring 0.2mm thick. The membrane lets in more light and heat than glass, resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in energy costs.

Rainwater from the roof is collected and recycled with efficient filtration and backwash systems, and a sophisticated LED lighting system turns the Watercube into a kaleidoscope at night.

Green and sustainable
building projects

Green industrial buildings

Case study: Lot 12 TradeCoast Central, Queensland, Australia

Lot 12 TradeCoast Central was not only the first industrial project to gain a Green Star rating, but did so with a range of impressive innovations.

The project achieved Green Star Innovation points for features such as the precinct non-potable water storage and distribution system which reduces potable water consumption by 80 per cent - the equivalent of more than 10,000 litres a day.

"The industrial building sector is an area where substantial savings can be made in terms of energy, greenhouse gas and water savings."
John Moynihan, Ecolateral, ESD Consultant on Lot 12, TradeCoast Central

Green and sustainable
building projects

Environmentally sustainable residential design

Case study: Arya Residences, Philippines

Designed by Australian firm, Crone Partners, Arya Residences is the first and only top-end development in the Philippines built to achieve dual green building certification.

Crone Partners, pioneers of Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) in Australia, partnered with developers ArthaLand Corporation to build the 640-apartment residential complex. ArthaLand visited Australia to see examples of green building expertise first-hand.

Arya Residences is poised to become the first residential high-rise in the country to obtain Gold level certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The boutique condominium oriented its towers and designed the stacking of its apartments to ensure optimum cross-ventilation and take advantage of sea breezes, as well as utilising Double-E Glaze glass and multi-split mini inverter air conditioning for maximum thermal comfort. The low emissivity Double-E Glaze coating minimizes solar heat gain and energy loss while maximising the penetration of light.


Listed below are some of the industry associations involved in the Australian green building industry.

Contact your local Australian Trade Commission representative about connecting and partnering with the Australian green building industry.

Industry associations
The following organisations are a good source of information about the green building industry in Australia.
Green Building Council of Australia is the nation's authority on sustainable buildings and communities. The council's mission is to accelerate the transformation of Australia's built environment into one that is healthy, liveable, productive, resilient and sustainable.

Australian Institute of Architects is the peak body for the architectural profession, representing over 11,000 members across Australia and internationally. The institute actively works to improve the quality of our built environment by promoting quality, responsible and sustainable design.architecture.com.au Consult Australia represent the business interests of their members who are engineering companies in the built environment at a commercial, community, industry, and government level through collaboration, education, support and advocacy.

National Australian Built Environmental Rating System is a government-administered performance-based rating system for some existing buildings. It rates a building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment, and provides a simple indication to building owners and tenants of how a building compares to its peers.

The Australian Trade Commission – Austrade – is the Australian Government's trade, investment and education promotion agency.

Through a global network of offices, Austrade assists Australian companies to grow their international business, attracts productive foreign direct investment into Australia and promotes Australia's education sector internationally. Austrade helps companies around the world to source Australian goods and services. We can help you reduce the time, risk and cost involved in sourcing suppliers by:

  • helping you identify and contact Australian suppliers
  • providing insight on Australian capabilities
  • alerting you to the latest products and services out of Australia to help you grow your business.

Austrade partners the strengths of Australian businesses with the needs of international markets. We can open the door to a world of opportunities for your business.

Australian Green
Building Video

Partner with Australia's
Green and Sustainable
building industry

Talk to your local Austrade representative for more tailored advice and information on connecting and partnering with the Australia's Green and Sustainable building industry.

Image Credits:

1 Bligh Street, Sydney, Australia – photo courtesy of Green Building Council of Australia

Perth Arena, Australia – Photographer: Greg Hocking, Cameron Chisholm Nicol

Canberra Airport, Australia - photo courtesy of Canberra Airport

313@somerset, Singapore – photo courtesy of lend Lease Retail Development


Rockefellar Center, NYC – photo courtesy of ruigsantos/Shutterstock.com

The Watercube, Beijing, China – photo courtesy of Ben McMillan

Helex Bridge, Singapore - photo courtesy of Cox Architecture

Lot 12 TradeCoast Central, Queensland, Australia - photo courtesy of Green Building Council of Australia


Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia - photo courtesy of Green Building Council of Australia

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – Photography courtesy Woods Bagot

New South Wing, Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia - photo courtesy of Green Building Council of Australia

Arya Residences, Philippines - photo courtesy of Arthaland Corporation


Austrade does not endorse or guarantee the performance or suitability of any introduced party or liability for the accuracy or usefulness of any information contained in this Report. Please use commercial discretion to assess the suitability of any business introduction or goods and services offered when assessing your business needs. Austrade does not accept liability for any loss associated with the use of any information and any reliance is entirely at the user's discretion.


©Commonwealth of Australia 2013

This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth, available through the Australian Trade Commission. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Marketing Manager, Austrade, GPO Box 5301, Sydney NSW 2001 or by email to marketing-commshelpline@austrade.gov.au Publication date: April 2013