The coronavirus has highlighted opportunities in the built environment to develop safer and healthier buildings and spaces, prompting the GBCSA to expand its Green Star SA rating tools to include an innovation credit for design initiatives, construction-management procedures and other technologies, processes or strategies that address pandemic-associated challenges.

The new INN-3 COVID-19 Innovation credit aims to encourage and recognise sustainable building initiatives that have been instituted during the pandemic to minimise the spread of the virus and other infectious diseases. While the Green Star SA rating tools already assign points for a host of initiatives that promote the well-being of building occupants (through, for example, healthy indoor environmental quality), the new credit recognises measures that fall outside the current scope of Green Star SA, such as non-toxic surface cleaning and disinfecting, workplace re-occupancy, risk management, social distancing, air-quality and infection monitoring.

The qualifying criteria for the INN-3 COVID-19 Innovation credit include that measures must have been implemented during the pandemic, and must differ from existing Green Star SA credits. Projects that have implemented both temporary and permanent initiatives will be considered for the credit. The GBCSA says the credit will also apply to risk-management initiatives for other infectious diseases and pathogens.

The organisation also stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the virus by hosting its annual convention virtually for the first time. Delegates were invited to attend the 13th Green Building Convention as avatars of themselves, and explore the venue, networking lounges and exhibition interactively. The 3D exhibition stands featured on-demand access to live on-screen videos, and visitors were able to view websites and marketing material, as well as chat to exhibitors.

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