International Rating Tools

There are are two key types of building rating tools.

Design Based Rating Tools: Design based rating tools assess the potential environmental impact of new buildings and retrot buildings based on their design attributes.

These ratings are assessed based on design documents, or as-built documentation, and are often referred to as ‘Design’ and ‘As-built’ ratings. An Australian rating tool for assessing design elements is Green Star. Others include LEED (US Equivalent) and BREEAM (UK Equivalent).

Performance Rating Tools: Performance based tools assess the actual performance of a building in operation. For example, the National Australian Built Environmental Rating System (NABERS) Energy.


International Rating Tools

There are a numerous rating tools worldwide

Complex System of International Rating Tools

Reed, R., et. al., 2011, International comparison of sustainable rating tools – An Update

Screenshot 2014-11-02 13.04.47

Major assessment tools

  • Australia: Nabers / Green Star / BASIX (in NSW only)
  • Brazil: AQUA / LEED Brasil
  • Canada: LEED Canada / Green Globes / Built Green Canada
  • China: GBAS
  • Czech Republic: SBToolCZ
  • Finland: PromisE
  • France: HQE
  • Germany: DGNB / CEPHEUS
  • Hong Kong: BEAM Society Limited
  • India: Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)/ GBCIndia (Green Building Construction India)/ GRIHA
  • Indonesia: Green Building Council Indonesia (GBCI) / Greenship
  • Italy: Protocollo Itaca / Green Building Council Italia
  • Japan: CASBEE
  • Jordan: Jordan Green Building Council
  • Korea, Republic of: Green Building Certification Criteria / Korea Green Building Council
  • Malaysia: GBI Malaysia
  • Mexico: LEED Mexico
  • Netherlands: BREEAM Netherlands
  • New Zealand: Green Star NZ
  • Pakistan: Pakistan Green Building Council
  • Philippines: BERDE / Philippine Green Building Council
  • Portugal: Lider A / SBToolPT®
  • Qatar: Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS)
  • Republic of China (Taiwan): Green Building Label
  • Singapore: Green Mark
  • South Africa: Green Star SA
  • Spain: VERDE
  • Sri Lanka: GREENSL
  • Switzerland: Minergie
  • United States: LEED / Living Building Challenge / Green Globes / Build it Green / NAHB NGBS / International Green Construction Code (IGCC) / ENERGY STAR
  • United Kingdom: BREEAM
  • United Arab Emirates: Estidama
  • Turkey : CEDBİK
  • Thailand : TREES
  • Vietnam: LOTUS Rating Tools


BREEAM (UK and Europe)

The Australian Green Star System is modelled on the BRE Environmental Assessment Method and is therefore an almost identical certification scheme (same categories and credit system).

BREEAM Scoring System

BREEAM Scoring System

Mandatory Credits: The difference is that there are Mandatory Credits (minimum standards) to ensure that buildings achieving an ‘Excellent Rating’ does not achieve compliance with straightforward BREEAM issues. It also provides a comparability across different schemes and BREEAM buildings.

The higher the BREEAM Rating that more mandatory requirements there are and progressively harder they become.

There are also Innovation Credits that are recognised for ‘innovation in the field of  sustainable performance, above and beyond what is currently recognised and rewarded in BREEAM. These are achieved in two ways:

  1. By meeting exemplary level performance requirements for an existing BREEAM issue
  2. Where an application is made to BRE Global to have a particular building feature or process recognised as ‘innovation’


LEED (US and Canada) 

LEED Scoring System

LEED Scoring System

An internationally recognized green building certification system which provides third‐ party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at increasing performance, reducing waste, and improving quality of life. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998 and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) runs the LEED Building Certification and LEED Professional Accreditation programs.

There are five main categories: Building Design & Construction, Interior Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Homes and Neighbourhood Development.

It is also a credit based assessment method and awards performance in:

LEED Scoring System

LEED Scoring System

  • Sustainable sites
  • Water
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Materials & Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Locations & Linkages
  • Awareness & Education
  • Innovation in Design
  • Regional Priority

LEED Points are awarded on a 100-point scale. credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts.


  • LEED NC (New Construction) – Est. 2000
  • LEED EB (Existing Building )
  • LEED Commercial Interior
  • LEED Core and Shell Development
  • LEED Neighbourhood Development
  • LEED Home
  • LEED Schools
  • LEED Health Care

Comparing Global Systems

Comparing International Rating Systems

Comparing International Rating Systems


Criticism of Rating Tools

  • Require exact requirements (BREEAM)
  • Complex weighting systems (BREEAM)
  • Market profile (BREEAM)
  • Cost of compliance (BREEAM)
  • Intense documentation required (LEED)
  • No independent audit of the assessment (LEED)
  • Mixing building function and form is difficult to assess (LEED)
  • Potential for misuse by developers as “Greenwash” as design is approved but there is no onus on developers to deliever when they are built (Green Star)
  • No minimum standards for individual categories, allowing points to be “traded off” between categories. Hence, it is possible for buildings to score zero points in important greenhouse and energy categories and still win a four- or five-star rating out of a possible six stars (Green Star)
  • Only encourage commercial building’s environmental performance (CBD Program)


For Other Tools:


Source: Reed, R., Bilos, A., Wilkinson, S. and Schulte, K., 2011, International comparison of sustainable rating tools – An Update

The green advantage powerpoint presentation

Reed, R., Bilos, A., Wilkinson, S. and Schulte, K., 2009, International comparison of sustainable rating tools, Journal of sustainable real estate, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1- 22.

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